New Delhi, June 3
The BRICS Foreign Ministers are understood to have decided to stand by the original decision of holding the Summit meeting in South Africa despite an ICC arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The five Ministers were also buoyed by the presence of at least 15 Foreign Ministers from Africa, the Global South, and Friends of BRICS nations and applications for membership submitted by at least 20 countries.
Earlier, there was talk of shifting the BRICS summit to China which is not a member of ICC. Unlike South Africa which is an ICC member, China has not signed its covenant and is thus not obliged to arrest Putin if he lands there.
The resolve to hold the Summit in South Africa was strengthened by the unequivocal support from its ruling party, African National Congress (ANC).
“Putin is a head of state, do you think that a head of state can just be arrested anywhere? How many crimes has your country committed in Iraq? How many have you arrested for crimes in Afghanistan and Libya?’’ asked ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula, when a western reporter asked him about the arrest warrant against Putin.
Sources said most of these countries are more interested in taking advantage of the economic rise of BRICSand cold towards the western geostrategic ploy of marginalising China and Russia. Already, the cumulative GDP BRICS has surpassed the G7 bloc of western democracies in purchasing power parity terms. The collective GDP of the G7 was 30.39 per cent and BRICS was slightly ahead with 31.59 per cent.
If Putin does arrive in August, South Africa will defy the ICC for the second time after 2015 when it had refused to execute an ICC arrest warrant for then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. However, a local court had later said the decision was an error. The same possibility has arisen after the opposition Democratic Alliance Party said it had filed a court case to ensure the government detains Putin, should he arrive in South Africa.
Domestic politics apart, the international scene to defy the West has never been more propitious. What were earlier known as completely pro-US states such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE are keen to join BRICS as are Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Thailand, and, Venezuela.
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