President Cyril Ramaphosa is still involved in processes to ensure that the issue of Russian leader Vladimir Putin is handled properly ahead of the BRICS summit in August.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin over the conflict in Ukraine.
But the presidency said on Wednesday this matter was still part of engagements before the summit in Durban.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya also denied that the president has sent Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Alvin Botes to the US to discuss the Putin visit.
He said the visit was part of regular contacts with the US or any other country. South Africa has trade, diplomatic and other relations with the US.
South Africa is also part of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which has been in operation for a number of years.
Magwenya said the visit by Botes or any South African official cannot be attributed to the issue of the Russian president’s invitation to the summit.
He said Ramaphosa had told US President Joe Biden last year that South Africa wants a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
This is the position that the country has maintained since the conflict began in February last year.
Magwenya said Ramaphosa has been consistent in his message to all sides of the conflict that only through negotiations can the conflict be resolved.
He said as president of Russia, Putin was expected to attend the summit, but the ICC warrant has necessitated engagements.
“With respect to the invitation to President Putin, it’s a BRICS summit that involves heads of state. Naturally, all heads of state will be expected to attend the summit. But now we have a spanner in the works in the form of this ICC warrant. What that dictates is that there will be further engagements in terms of how that is going to be managed and those engagements are under way and once they have been concluded, the necessary announcements will be made. I don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of those engagements,” said Magwenya.
He said it has been Ramaphosa’s position that the issue of Ukraine should be resolved around the table.
He said Ramaphosa had a discussion with the president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, on this issue as well.
The matter of the Ukraine-Russia conflict was also discussed during the state visit of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda because of the impact it has.
It was also discussed when the President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan was here during a recent state visit.
The African Union has been discussing the matter because of the impact on the continent, said Magwenya.