Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the BRICS economic summit in Johannesburg next month, the office of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement Wednesday, July 19.
The BRICS economic bloc is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. South Africa had invited the leaders of the other four countries to the summit before Putin’s arrest warrant was issued by the ICC in March. The announcement brings to an end months of speculation over if Putin was going to travel to South Africa. Putin has not travelled to any country that is a signatory to the ICC treaty since he was indicted for war crimes over the abduction of children from Ukraine.
South Africa is a signatory to the treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) and would have been obliged under that treaty to arrest Putin, if he entered their territory.
The decision means South Africa will not face the dilemma of whether it should carry out an International Criminal Court arrest warrant against the Russian leader.
But Wednesday’s announcement allows South Africa to avoid the problem and comes after Ramaphosa spoke with Putin by telephone. The decision for Putin not to attend was by ‘mutual agreement,’ Ramaphosa’s office said. Russia will instead be represented at the Aug 22-24 summit by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.