South Africa consulting on ICC over Vladmir Putin arrest warrant ahead of BRICS Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa during a plenary session at the Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 (Valery Sharifulin, TASS News Agency Pool) We do. photo via AP)

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa says it is in contact with all key stakeholders in the Ukraine-Russia conflict since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin ahead of the BRICS summit in the country in August.

Vincent Magwenya, a spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa, said that while he noted the warrant issued by the ICC, the country said the conflict in Ukraine could be resolved through peaceful means.

This is the position that South Africa has taken since the conflict began in February last year.

Magwenya said it would be in touch with all key stakeholders between now and the summit.

“With regard to the ICC we note the report on the warrant of arrest that the ICC has issued against President Putin. It is South Africa’s commitment and a very strong desire that the conflict in Ukraine be resolved peacefully through dialogue. As a government, we are aware of our legal obligation. However, between now and the summit we will be engaging with relevant stakeholders regarding the summit and other related issues,” Magwenya said.

South Africa was caught in a similar situation in 2015 when it did not arrest former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir while he was attending the African Union summit in Johannesburg.

Political parties went to court to challenge the government for not arresting al-Bashir, who was later toppled in his country.

Putin is expected to attend the BRICS summit along with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Xi is also set to meet Putin this week during his first visit to Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine.

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