Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 17.2023
2023.04.24— 2023.04.30
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Joint Statement by BRICS Deputy Foreign Ministers and Special Envoys on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Cape Town, South Africa, 26 April 2023 (Совместное заявление заместителей министров иностранных дел и специальных посланников стран БРИКС по Ближнему Востоку и Северной Африке (БВСА), Кейптаун, ЮАР, 26 апреля 2023 г.) / Russia, April, 2023
Keywords: concluded_agreements, foreign_ministers_meeting

BRICS Deputy Foreign Ministers and Special Envoys on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) met on 26 April 2023 in hybrid format in Cape Town, South Africa, to exchange views on the current situation in the region.

They noted that rising global instability and uncertainties have negatively impacted global peace, security and development including in the region. They advocated for the strengthening of the multilateral framework of international relations, while opposing unilateralism and promoting peace, stability and development in the Middle East and North Africa region. They stressed that the regional situation impacts on global security, stability and development. They urged the international community to intensify support for development and peace in the MENA region and to align their support, including resources, to their responses to the resolution of regional conflicts. They stressed the importance of addressing conflict and security concerns through dialogue and inclusive consultations in a coordinated and cooperative manner. A peaceful and prosperous Middle East and North Africa is in the interest of the whole world.

They expressed serious concern over continued conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa that pose threats to regional and international peace, stability and security. Equally, they stated that regional crises should be resolved exclusively through political and diplomatic dialogue based on unconditional respect for independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of all MENA countries.

They reaffirmed their commitment to the basic principle that peace and security in the MENA region should be achieved and sustained in accordance with, and in full respect for, international law and the United Nations (UN) Charter. They reaffirmed the primary role of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in maintaining international peace and security. They acknowledged the important role played by regional organisations, including the League of Arab States (LAS) and the African Union (AU), in addressing threats to peace and security in accordance with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. In this regard, they welcomed the role played by the AU and the leading role of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) in promoting peace, security and stability in North Africa. They advocated for the strengthening of multilateralism as a means to promoting and ensuring peace, stability and development in the MENA region.

They stressed that peace and stability in the MENA region requires developmental cooperation and integration. They called on the international community to support the countries in the region in working together towards post-pandemic economic recovery. They emphasised the importance of contributing to post-conflict countries' reconstruction and development by supporting greater economic diversification in oil producing countries. They called upon the international community to assist MENA countries in meeting their development goals.

They condemned terrorism and extremism, including violent extremism conducive to terrorism and called on countries of the region to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism. Furthermore, they stressed the importance of coordination role of the UN and opposing double standards. They called for further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency. They agreed that terrorism and extremism, including violent extremism conducive to terrorism, must not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group. They reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening cooperation with countries of the region on counterterrorism. They called for an expeditious finalisation and adoption of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism under the UN umbrella.

They emphasised their full support for the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in accordance with the Security Council Resolution 487 (1981), paragraph 14 of the Security Council Resolution 687 (1991) and the relevant General Assembly resolutions.

They expressed their deep concern at the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a result of continued occupation and the expansion of settlements. They noted with concern that there is neither a proposal being currently discussed for a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict nor any perspective of resuming negotiations in the foreseeable future. They shared the view that the mere "management of the conflict" does not constitute an acceptable way forward towards peace and stability in the Middle East. They also acknowledged with great regret the current escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, which underscores the pressing need to advance towards a politically just and lasting solution for the conflict. They stressed that the question of Palestine must be resolved through direct negotiations based on International Law. They reaffirmed the position that the two-state solution achieved through such direct negotiations without preconditions remains the internationally recognized basis for the peaceful resolution to the conflict. They reiterated their support for the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate rights including but not limited to their right to self-determination. They reaffirmed their call for greater solidarity among all parties of Palestine to achieve internal reconciliation. They encouraged Palestine and Israel to resume peace talks based on a negotiated two-state solution. They called on the international community to intensify its efforts in support of UN-led effort with a view to achieving a comprehensive, lasting and just settlement that allows Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace, security and stability while recognising the legitimate security needs of Israel and Palestine. They stressed that efforts should be made to leverage respective strengths, actively promote peace talks, and to help Palestine develop its economy, ease its humanitarian situation, and improve its people's welfare. They commended the extensive work carried out by UNRWA to alleviate the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people. They reiterated the call for the international community to provide developmental assistance to support UNRWA activities to increase its reach amongst the Palestinian community.

They stressed that the key to solving the Syrian issue is to follow the principles enshrined in relevant UNSC resolutions, in particular facilitation of the "Syrian-led, Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process" of reconciliation and inclusiveness, respect for Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and international support to the Syrians in their humanitarian needs, especially after the earthquake of 6 February, giving priority to people's livelihoods, and accelerating early recovery projects. They welcomed the rapprochement between Arab countries and Syria as well as the steps towards the Syrian-Turkish normalisation and supported all the efforts conducive to the political resolution of the Syrian issue. They emphasised their continued support for the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, the work of the Constitutional Committee and the Astana Format.

They emphasised their firm support for Lebanon's efforts to safeguard stability, security, sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity. They reiterated the Lebanese people's rights to pursue a development path suited to their national conditions. They reiterated their opposition to international interference in Lebanon's domestic affairs. They called on the international community to continuously aid Lebanon without political conditions, to help restore political, social, and economic stability. They encouraged the various political forces in Lebanon to achieve, as soon as possible, a consensus on the election of the next President of the Republic, which is of utmost importance to pave the way for the comprehensive dialogue necessary for the country to overcome the challenges it currently faces.

They reaffirmed their support for Yemen's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and for a political settlement to the Yemeni issue. They called on all parties to resume the truce and engage in inclusive negotiations, mediated by the UN, and conveyed appreciation for the efforts of the United Nation's Secretary General (UNSG)'s Special Envoy in this regard. They appreciated the positive role of UNSG's Special Envoy, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and all the relevant parties that contributed to a political solution for the conflict. They reiterated their deep concern about Yemen's humanitarian crisis and encouraged the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to Yemen. They welcomed the most recent Saudi initiative to hold direct talks between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis to achieve peace and security in Yemen and the Gulf region. They also welcomed and commended the efforts of regional countries including Saudi Arabia and Oman to address the situation in Yemen and seek permanent ceasefire.

They reflected that twenty-years have passed since the invasion of Iraq which has severely impacted the security and development trajectory of the country, its people and the wider region. They reiterated their firm support for Iraq's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. They reaffirmed their support for Iraq in safeguarding their national security and stability and fighting terrorism. They reaffirmed their support for the Iraqi people in their quest for peace, prosperity, and development. They reaffirmed their opposition to any international interference in Iraq's domestic affairs, and supported Iraq's efforts to promote economic reconstruction and to play a greater role in regional affairs. They expressed their hope that all parties in Iraq would engage in a mutually respectful and inclusive dialogue to achieve lasting stability and prosperity.

They emphasized the need to achieve an enduring and mutually acceptable political solution to the question of Western Sahara in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions. They expressed their full support for the implementation of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). They furthermore expressed their full support for the UNSG's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara and his efforts to advance the political process that will result in the resumption of dialogue between the parties concerned.

They stressed their support for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya. They reiterated their support for a "Libyan-led and Libyan-owned" political process with UN-led mediation as the main channel. They reiterated their respect for the will and choice of the Libyan people and called on all parties to strengthen consultation and dialogue and to refrain from any actions that could undermine the October 2020 ceasefire. They welcomed the efforts of the African Union, including its High-Level Committee for Libya, in restoring stability and fostering the unification of Libya, and look forward to the outcomes of the inter-Libyan Reconciliation Conference. They reaffirmed their call on all parties to create the necessary conditions for the holding of free and fair elections, based on a sound and agreed constitutional framework.

They expressed deep concern about the continued clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan. They deeply regret the deaths and injuries of civilians. They urged the parties to reach an immediate ceasefire and stressed the need to respect international and humanitarian law. They encouraged all parties in Sudan to continue dialogue so that the political transition can be achieved, meeting the fundamental interests of the country and the legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people. They reiterated their support for joint efforts by the UN, AU, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to facilitate dialogue between the Sudanese parties to overcome the current situation, with the support of the international community.

They agreed to meet again under Russia's Chairship of BRICS in 2024. In this regard they reiterated the need to hold regular consultations on the Middle East and North Africa, including at the UN. They decided to hold annual working-level mid-term consultations in preparation for the BRICS Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Special Envoys meeting on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

                BRICS Draws Membership Bids From 19 Nations Before Summit (Перед саммитом БРИКС принимает заявки от 19 стран) / United States, April, 2023
                Keywords: brics+, summit
                United States

                Nineteen countries expressed an interest in joining the BRICS group of nations as it prepares to hold an annual summit in South Africa.

                The emerging-markets bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will meet in Cape Town on June 2-3 to discuss its enlargement, Anil Sooklal, South Africa's ambassador to the group, said in an interview in the city on Monday.

                "What will be discussed is the expansion of BRICS and the modalities of how this will happen," he said. "Thirteen countries have formally asked to join and another six have asked informally. We are getting applications to join every day."

                China initiated the conversation about expansion when it was BRICS chair last year, as the world's second-biggest economy tries to build diplomatic clout to counter the dominance of developed countries in the United Nations. The proposed enlargement triggered concern among other members that their influence will be diluted, especially if Beijing's close allies are admitted. China's gross domestic product is more than twice the size of all four other BRICS members combined.
                The foreign ministers from the five member states have all confirmed they'll attend the discussions in June, Sooklal said. In addition to its membership, they will also discuss "hot spots" including Sudan, where a cease-fire appeared to take hold on Tuesday after 10 days of conflict.

                Since its formation as the BRIC in 2006, the group has only added one new member — South Africa in 2010.

                Saudi Arabia and Iran are among the countries who've formally asked to join, Sooklal said in February. Other countries that have expressed interest in joining include Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain and Indonesia, along with two nations from East Africa and one from West Africa — which he didn't identify.
                              Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, April 27, 2023 (Брифинг официального представителя МИД России М.В.Захаровой, Москва, 27 апреля 2023 года) / Russia, April, 2023
                              Keywords: brics+, mofa, quotation

                              Question: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently made a Latin American tour. Following his visit to Brazil, he said that, among other things, the topic of BRICS was discussed. Bloomberg recently quoted South Africa's BRICS Sherpa as saying that 19 countries have expressed interest in joining BRICS. Did the minister discuss the mechanism for new countries joining the group during his visit to Brazil?

                              Maria Zakharova: This topic is certainly discussed at the meetings with our BRICS partners both in the bilateral format and in the five-party discussions. We discuss this regularly with our colleagues from Brazil.

                              The issues of BRICS expansion are very topical and, of course, are in the focus of attention. They are addressed at the level of heads of state and foreign ministers of the five countries. The Beijing Declaration of the 14th BRICS Summit includes an instruction to work out the relevant guidelines, standards, criteria and procedures. The whole set of related issues is being discussed by BRICS Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas. It requires an in-depth analysis and careful internal study from the five states to achieve consensus. Yes, we regularly discuss this topic, using every opportunity. At the same time, as we have repeatedly noted, we consider it premature to disclose the details of the approval process at this stage.

                                            BRICS Nations Push to Expand Global Influence to Counter the West's 'Destructive Actions' (Страны БРИКС стремятся расширить глобальное влияние, чтобы противостоять «деструктивным действиям» Запада) / USA, April, 2023
                                            Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance

                                            By Kevin Helms

                                            The BRICS nations are focusing on increasing their international roles and "enhancing coordination on key multilateral platforms," Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs reportedly revealed after a meeting with BRICS ambassadors. He stressed "the need for joint efforts to counter destructive actions aimed at destroying the established security architecture."

                                            BRICS Seeks Expand Global Influence

                                            Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, stressed the need for joint efforts to counter Western countries' "destructive actions" on Monday at a meeting with ambassadors from the BRICS countries, Russian news agency Tass reported. The BRICS nations consist of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

                                            According to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry at the conclusion of the meeting:

                                            Lavrov stressed the need for joint efforts to counter destructive actions aimed at destroying the established security architecture, being undertaken in line with the Western countries' neo-colonial policies.

                                            During the meeting, the ambassadors discussed the development and strengthening of strategic partnerships within the BRICS framework, the statement details. "Current issues on the global agenda were examined with an emphasis on the inadmissibility of eroding the central role of the United Nations," the Russian ministry explained, adding:

                                            There was a general focus on increasing the international role of BRICS and enhancing coordination on key multilateral platforms.

                                            Furthermore, Lavrov updated the BRICS ambassadors on the key points of Russia's new Foreign Policy Concept, which highlights the desire for expanded interaction within the BRICS and a vision of a multipolar world order. The BRICS ambassadors then reaffirmed their commitment to a multipolar world order that is based on respect for international law and recognizes the sovereign right to choose one's own path of development.

                                            The Russian Foreign Ministry's statement adds:

                                            The growing interest was noted of a wide range of countries in cooperation with BRICS, which is now seen as the safeguard of true multilateralism.

                                            The BRICS nations are reportedly working on creating a new form of currency, a topic that is expected to be discussed at the next leaders' summit. "The transition to settlements in national currencies is the first step. The next one is to provide the circulation of digital or any other form of a fundamentally new currency in the nearest future," said State Duma Deputy Chairman Alexander Babakov. Several other countries have expressed interest in joining the economic bloc, including Argentina, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. South Africa will host the next BRICS summit in August.

                                            Many people believe that the introduction of a BRICS currency could jeopardize the USD's status as the world's reserve currency. Economist Jim Rickards said last week that the U.S. dollar's greatest enemy as the world's reserve currency is the Treasury which has weaponized the dollar and frozen the reserves of Russia's central bank. Citing a similar reason, investment manager Larry Lepard predicted that the U.S. dollar could lose most of its value in five years.

                                                          Investment and Finance
                                                          Investment and finance in BRICS
                                                          ICC warrant against Putin leaves SA with trade dilemma ahead of BRICS summit (Ордер МУС против Путина ставит ЮАР перед саммитом БРИКС перед торговой дилеммой) / South Africa, April, 2023
                                                          Keywords: expert_opinion, vladimir_putin, political_issues
                                                          South Africa

                                                          Durban - The ongoing debate on whether South Africa will execute an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin could leave the country with an international trade dilemma.

                                                          The country has an excellent trade position within BRICS and with its key trade partners, which are largely Western.

                                                          Dr Noluthando Phungula, of the Institute for Pan African Thought and Conversation at the University of Johannesburg, said SA benefited from preferential trade agreements with the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) and with the EU.

                                                          She said the US had recently used Agoa as a sanction against Ethiopia, Gambia and Mali.

                                                          The ICC, of which South Africa is a full member, issued a warrant of arrest against Putin and urged 123 countries who are signatories to the Rome Statute to arrest him. This is for alleged war crimes related to the abduction of children from Ukraine.

                                                          Putin has accepted an in-person invitation to attend the 15th BRICS summit in Durban in August.

                                                          Phungula said while Russia had seen an increased presence in South Africa, very little of this had shown actual economic benefit for the country.

                                                          "In terms of exports, South Africa exports 50 times more to the US than to Russia. In the same light, South Africa exports 150 times more to Europe (including the UK) than to Russia. While this is so, there is a growing trade relationship with the BRICS partners."

                                                          South Africa's overall trade with its BRICS partners has increased by an average growth of 10% between 2017 and 2021. BRICS accounted for 21% of South Africa's global trade in 2022, with trade with China accounting for about 15% of South Africa's global trade, with a total trade of R556 billion.

                                                          India accounts for 6% of the total trade, increasing from R140bn in 2021 to R225bn in 2022.

                                                          Phungula said International Monetary Fund (IMF) data lists South Africa's five biggest direct investors as the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, the US and Germany, with $136bn (R2.5 trillion) between them.

                                                          "According to the IMF, Russian investments in South Africa amount to only $5 million. While the actual number might be debatable, it still accounts for an insignificant share compared to the investments with the major Nato powers."

                                                          She said the country would have to face the music with many of its international trade partners through preferential trade terms.

                                                          "South Africa must eventually pick a side. Either way, all South African businesses will feel the pinch. This suggests that businesses need to assess their position and how it will impact on their operations."

                                                          Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa chairperson Francois Strydom said agribusinesses kept the rural economy running and created employment and livelihoods.

                                                          "This is not something we should take for granted and it is especially relevant for our political leaders to take note of when positioning South Africa in a volatile geopolitical situation."

                                                          He said in 2022, the agriculture, food, fibre and beverage value chain exports reached a record $12.8bn, up 4% from the previous year.

                                                          These exports were spread across a range of diverse markets on the African continent, Asia, the Euro area and the Americas.

                                                          "South Africa should be careful not to risk trade and investment relations with Western countries that have taken many years to cultivate, and that have served the South African economy well.

                                                          "We are concerned that South Africa's foreign policy stance on Russia is at odds, if not hostile, to those countries with which it has long-standing commercial partnerships, especially in the Euro area, UK and the US."

                                                          Political economist Mandla Lionel Isaacs said in international relations, there were no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.

                                                          "We do vastly more economic trade despite the nuclear deal and the many BRICS summits … we do 20 times the trade we do with Russia with the so-called West," said Isaacs in an interview.

                                                          The SACP said BRICS countries had "a combined 26.7% of the world's land surface, a total population of about 3.21bn (41.5% of the global population), and a combined GDP of $26.6trln (26.2% of the gross world product)".

                                                          "The existence of BRICS challenges the US and European-dominated unipolar world order," the party said.
                                                                        Trade between Iran, BRICS nations up to $35 bln — Iranian customs (Товарооборот между Ираном и странами БРИКС достиг $35 млрд — таможня Ирана) / Russia, April, 2023
                                                                        Keywords: economic_challenges, trade_relations

                                                                        It was reported earlier that the country's foreign trade turnover went up by 11% over the past year to $112.8 bln

                                                                        TEHRAN, April 25. /TASS/. Trade turnover between Iran and BRICS member states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) rose to $35 bln from March 2022 to February 2023 excluding oil sales, the Fars news agency reported on Tuesday citing the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA).

                                                                        China was Iran's largest trade partner in the reporting period, with trade turnover between the two states having reached $27.8 bln. The country's trade turnover with India amounted to $4.5 bln, with Russia - $2 bln, Brazil - $409 mln, while South Africa - $318 mln. Iran's exports to those countries equaled $16.5 bln, while imports stood at $18.5 bln.

                                                                        Earlier, the IRICA reported that the country's foreign trade turnover went up by 11% over the past year to $112.8 bln.

                                                                        Tehran filed an application for accession to BRICS in June 2022. President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi said at the BRICS summit that the country was ready to provide possibilities to enter new markets and ensure their energy needs to member states.

                                                                                      Can BRICS weaken the dominance of the IMF and World Bank? (Сможет ли БРИКС ослабить доминирование МВФ и Всемирного банка?) / Russia, April, 2023
                                                                                      Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion

                                                                                      Who would have expected that the BRICS nations could rise as the potential rival of the G7 countries, the World Bank and the IMF combined? But that once seemingly distant possibility now has real prospects which could change the political equilibrium of world politics, writes "The Counter Punch'.

                                                                                      BRIC's first official summit took place in 2009. Then, the discussion seemed largely abstract.

                                                                                      However, not until 2014 did BRICS begin taking serious steps towards greater integration, when the nascent alliance, now including South Africa, launched the New Development Bank with seed money of $50 billion. This decision meant that the group was now ready to take its first practical steps in challenging the dominance of the West over international monetary institutions, namely the World Bank and the IMF.

                                                                                      The geopolitical global conflict, thus shifts, resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war, however, proved to be the driving force behind the massive expansion underway at BRICS, especially as financially powerful countries began showing interest in the initiative. They include Argentina, UAE, Mexico, Algeria and, particularly, Saudi Arabia.

                                                                                      Recent financial reports suggest that BRICS is already the world's largest gross domestic product (GDP) bloc in the world, as it currently contributes 31.5% to the global GDP, ahead of the G7, which contributes 30.7%.

                                                                                      One of the greatest opportunities, and challenges, facing BRICS now is its ability to expand its membership base while maintaining its current growth. The issue of helping new members maintain economic and political independence is particularly vital.

                                                                                      The IMF and World Bank are notorious for stipulating their monetary support of countries, especially in the Global South, on political conditions. This position is often justified under the guise of human rights and democracy, though is entirely related to privatization and opening markets for foreign investors – read western corporations.

                                                                                      As BRICS strengthens, it will have the potential to help poorer countries without pushing a self-serving political agenda, or indirectly manipulating and controlling local economies.

                                                                                      As inflation is hitting many western countries, resulting in slower economic growth and causing social unrest, nations in the Global South are using this as an opportunity to develop their own economic alternative. This means that groups like BRICS will cease being exclusively economic institutions.

                                                                                      The struggle is now very political.

                                                                                      For decades, the US's greatest weapon has been its dollar which, with time, ceased being a normal currency per se, to become an actual commodity. Wars have been fought to ensure countries, like Iraq and Libya, remain committed to the dollar. Following the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Baghdad returned to selling its oil in US dollars.

                                                                                      This struggle over the dominance of the dollar was also painfully felt in Venezuela which has the world's largest oil reserve, yet was reduced to abject poverty for attempting to challenge the supremacy of Washington its currency.

                                                                                      Though it will take time, the process of lessening the reliance on US dollars is now in full swing.

                                                                                      On March 30, Brazil and China announced a trade agreement that would allow them to use the two countries' national currencies, the yuan and the reais, respectively. This step shall prove consequential, for it will encourage other South American countries to follow suit. But that move was neither the first, nor will it be the last of its kind.

                                                                                      One of the main decisions by finance ministers and central bank governors of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) following their March 30-31 meeting in Indonesia is to reduce their reliance on the US dollar. They agree to "reinforce financial resilience… through the use of local currency to support cross-border trade and investment in the ASEAN region." This too is a game-changer.

                                                                                      While the West is busy trying to keep its own economies afloat, it remains wary of the changes underway in the Global South. Washington and other western capitals are worried. They ought to be.

                                                                                      To argue that BRICS is a purely economic group is to ignore a large part of the story. The timing of BRICS' expansion, the stern political discourse of its members, potential members and allies, the repeated visits by top Russian and Chinese diplomats to Africa and other regions in the Global South, etc., indicate that BRICS has become the South's new platform for geopolitics, economy and diplomacy.

                                                                                      The more successful BRICS will become, the weaker Western hegemony over the South will grow.

                                                                                      Though some Western politicians and media insist on downplaying BRICS' role in shaping the new world order, the change seems to be real and irreversible.

                                                                                                    Political Events
                                                                                                    Political events in the public life of BRICS
                                                                                                    Arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Western Cape nothing but a 'pipe dream' (Арест президента России Владимира Путина в Западно-Капской провинции — не более чем несбыточная мечта) / South Africa, April, 2023
                                                                                                    Keywords: summit, vladimir_putin, political_issues
                                                                                                    South Africa

                                                                                                    Cape Town - While South Africa remains a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC), a statement by the Western Cape premier that the province's officers would "arrest" Russian President Vladimir Putin has been shrugged off as a pipe dream.

                                                                                                    The Presidency issued a statement this week confirming that President Cyril Ramaphosa erroneously said the country would pull out of the ICC.

                                                                                                    "This clarification follows an error in a comment made during a media briefing held by the governing ANC on South Africa's status with regard to the ICC. Regrettably, the President erroneously affirmed a similar position during a media session on Tuesday".

                                                                                                    The development comes as South Africa prepares to host the Brics summit in August, while the ICC has an arrest warrant out for Putin relating to alleged crimes during the conflict with the Ukraine.
                                                                                                    Putin is expected to travel to Johannesburg to attend the 15thBrics summit.

                                                                                                    On Thursday Premier Alan Winde's office said the Western Cape's Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers would arrest Putin in the province.

                                                                                                    "Even in the face of this arrest warrant, national government seemingly intends to push ahead and host President Putin at a Brics summit in South Africa, scheduled for later this year. This is unacceptable and deplorable," said Winde.

                                                                                                    ANC leader of the opposition, Cameron Dugmore, said Winde's statement was typical grandstanding.

                                                                                                    "The DA provincial government and Winde have no mandate to deal with international relations matters.

                                                                                                    "From refusing to debate the Palestinian Struggle in the legislature to lightning up the Wale Street building in the colours of Ukraine, the DA is simply seeking votes from their constituency.

                                                                                                    This while Western Cape farmers are exporting goods to Russia.

                                                                                                    "This matter is in the hands of national government, where it belongs.

                                                                                                    "LEAP officers do not have such powers.

                                                                                                    "I will be writing a question for written reply to Premier Winde about the powers of LEAP officers and the role of the provincial government regarding international relations as outlined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Winde acts as if the Western Cape is an independent country," he said.

                                                                                                    Director at the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, Professor Zwelinzima Ndevu said: "In a democratic system like ours, one would have hoped that situations such as this would take their course.

                                                                                                    "However we know that it is practically impossible for LEAP officers to arrest a head of state, let alone the fact that he is a powerful person and a crucial partner of the ANC and the state.

                                                                                                    "It is a pipe dream that will not happen."
                                                                                                                  Decisions on Russia's participation in BRICS summit in August to be made later — Kremlin (Решения об участии России в августовском саммите БРИКС будут приняты позже — Кремль) / Russia, April, 2023
                                                                                                                  Keywords: summit, political_issues

                                                                                                                  Dmitry Peskov stressed that Moscow considered BRICS "a very important organization whose relevance is constantly increasing"

                                                                                                                  MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Moscow will continue to work in BRICS at all levels, including the highest. Decisions on Russia's participation in the summit in August in South Africa will be taken closer to the date, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

                                                                                                                  "The work [in BRICS] will continue at all levels - expert, high-level and top-level. Russia will continue to participate. As for the invitations [to the summit in August in South Africa], yes, there are indeed invitations. The relevant decisions will be made closer to the date. But in any case, Russia will take an active part in this," the Kremlin spokesman pointed out.

                                                                                                                  Peskov stressed that Moscow considered BRICS "a very important organization whose relevance is constantly increasing." "More and more countries are showing interest in the work of the organization," he added.

                                                                                                                  BRICS Summit

                                                                                                                  South Africa, now chairing the organization, is preparing for the BRICS Summit, which will take place in Durban in August in a face-to-face format. Invitations have been sent to all the leaders of the organization. Peskov said on March 24 that no decision had been made on Russian President Vladimir Putin's participation in the meeting.

                                                                                                                  On March 17, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova, alleging that they were responsible for the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children. When commenting on the decision, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that Russia did not recognize the International Criminal Court. In turn, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the decisions of the ICC had no significance for Russia whatsoever, while any potential arrest warrants would be legally null and void.

                                                                                                                                Russia to seek clarification of South Africa's position on ICC membership — Kremlin (Россия будет добиваться разъяснения позиции ЮАР по членству в МУС — Кремль) / Russia, April, 2023
                                                                                                                                Keywords: political_issues

                                                                                                                                Dmitry Peskov emphasized that Russia would participate in the BRICS summit that South Africa will host

                                                                                                                                MOSCOW, April 26. /TASS/. Russia will seek a clarification of South Africa's position on its membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

                                                                                                                                When commenting on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's statement that the country's authorities would consider withdrawing from the ICC based on a decision of the ruling African National Congress and the presidential office's subsequent denial of the statement, Peskov noted that "bilateral communication will take place ahead" of a BRICS summit set to be held in South Africa in August." "We will seek a clarification of their position," the Kremlin spokesman added.

                                                                                                                                Peskov pointed out that Russia "has been and will continue to be actively engaged in the group's work." "Russia is an important and responsible BRICS member. Of course, we will participate in the summit that South Africa will host," he emphasized.

                                                                                                                                South Africa, which is currently chairing the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), is engaged in preparations for a summit slated to take place in Durban in August. Invitations have been sent to all leaders of the BRICS member states. Peskov said on March 24 that no decision had been made yet on Russian President Vladimir Putin's participation in the event.

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