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“We would be happy if he doesn’t come”: South African authorities’ request not to send Putin to BRICS summit rejected by Moscow

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The Russian government has declined the request made by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to have Sergei Lavrov, instead of Vladimir Putin, lead the Russian delegation at the upcoming BRICS summit in August. The information was shared by Paul Mashatile, the vice-president of South Africa, and has been reported by Russian media outlets, such as Kommersant and RBC.

According to Mashatile, discussions with the Russian side about Putin's presence at the summit are ongoing.

“We understand we are bound by the Rome Statute but we can’t invite someone and then you arrest them. You can understand our dilemma,” Mashatile told local publication Mail & Guardian.
“We would be happy if he [Putin] doesn’t come,” he added.

Earlier today, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa will be face-to-face, with the presidents of all five countries attending.

In early June, Reuters reported that South Africa was looking for ways not to arrest Putin without violating its obligations to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In March 2023, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin and Russia’s children's rights ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova. The decision has direct consequences for both defendants, as lawyers have explained to The Insider. Any of the 123 countries that have ratified the Rome Statute are obliged to arrest either Putin or Lvova-Belova if they cross those countries’ borders.

Cover photo: Reuters

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