South Africa, as the current chair of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), will lead a special virtual meeting on Tuesday (today) concerning the situation in Gaza and the Middle East. This was announced by the South African president via a Monday press release.
The Kremlin confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is confirmed to participate in this extraordinary joint session convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, “the chairman of the BRICS group of nations”. The meeting is scheduled for 12 p.m. GMT.
The other heads of state of the BRICS are set to participate in this virtual meeting, as well as the leaders of the invited nations, during the recent summit of the group in Johannesburg, to join it next January, namely Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the Arab Emirates combined.
The South African president, who recently urged an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, will initiate the BRICS meeting.
The gathering will provide an opportunity for each member country or guest to address the matter, according to the press release from Pretoria.
Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, will also participate in this meeting, after which the leaders “are expected to adopt a joint declaration on the situation in the Middle East, in particular in Gaza“.
In early November, the South African government announced that it would recall its diplomats stationed in Israel for consultations, to “signal” its “concern” about the “atrocities” committed, according to it, by Israel in Gaza.
Dubbing the recall of diplomats as a routine procedure, South Africa explained that it aims to assess whether there is an opportunity to offer assistance and if the ongoing relationship can be maintained under all circumstances.
Currently, South Africa lacks an ambassador in Israel.
The nation is “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in the Palestinian territory, its foreign minister Naledi Pandor said.
“We believe the nature of response by Israel has become one of collective punishment,” she noted, detailing that the country would continue to call for a comprehensive ceasefire in Palestine.
For years now, Pretoria has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, with the ANC, its ruling party since the advent of democracy in the country, often drawing parallels with its own historic struggle against apartheid.