Johannesburg, Jul 19 (EFE).- Russian president Vladimir Putin will not travel to South Africa to attend a BRICS leaders’ summit because of an international arrest warrant, South African authorities said Wednesday.
The arrest warrant was issued against Putin by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine.
As a member state of the ICC, South Africa would have been compelled to arrest Putin upon arrival.
On Tuesday, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa had indicated that his Russian counterpart would not be detained if he traveled to the summit in August, saying arresting Putin would have amounted to a “declaration of war”.
In Putin’s place, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov will attend the meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) emerging economies, a statement by the South African presidency said.
South Africa claims to have maintained a neutral stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, calling for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the conflict.
That position is down to Moscow’s strategic, political and economic activity in Africa, as well as historical factors such as Soviet Russia’s support for anti-colonial and liberation movements in the 20th century, like the struggle against the segregationist “apartheid” regime.
Brazil, Russia, India and China created the BRIC group in 2006, joined by South Africa in 2010. EFE