Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa’s foreign ministers attended a two-day summit in Cape Town that was overshadowed by the effects of the conflict in Ukraine.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the foreign minister of India, remarked during the opening remarks that “our gathering must send out a strong message that the world is multipolar, that it is rebalancing, and that old ways cannot address new situations.”
“We must behave appropriately because we are a symbol of change.”
Due in large part to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, it is now seeking deeper ties with China and other nations, such as South Africa.
Pretoria has long lobbied for BRICS to function as a counterpoint to a western-dominated international order, despite the fact that it claims to want to remain neutral in the conflict and is accused by critics of leaning toward the Kremlin.
“Our vision of BRICS is for our partnership to provide global leadership in a world fractured by competition, geopolitical tension, inequality, and deteriorating global security,” South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor stated during the gathering.
“Thus, opportunities for strengthening and transforming global governance systems will be the main topics of discussion today.”
“Stop Putin!” Stop the conflict!
The discussions take place before a heads of state conference in August, which is posing challenges for host South Africa because Russian President Vladimir Putin might participate.
A warrant for Putin’s arrest has been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in response to allegations that Russia forcibly deported Ukrainian children.
Pretoria, a member of the ICC, is anticipated to make the arrest if Putin enters the nation.
On Thursday, Pandor reaffirmed that Putin, like all other world leaders, had been invited and said that the government was considering its “legal options”.
Around a dozen demonstrators wearing traditional clothing and carrying Ukrainian flags screamed “Stop Putin!” outside the hotel where the meeting was taking place. “Put an end to the conflict!”
Some held signs depicting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with the words “child murderer” in blood-red letters.
“It is difficult to see that South Africa, which has such a strong stand on children’s rights, is shaking the hand of a person who is part of these systemic war crimes against Ukrainian children,” Dzvinka Kachur, 41, a member of the Ukrainian association of South Africa, told AFP.