President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will not attend the BRICS summit in Johannesburg next month.
Ramaphosa said he has been in consultation with all stakeholders for some time and the last consultation took place during the BRICS Political Parties Dialogue on Tuesday.
It has been agreed that only President Xi Jinping of China, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil and the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will attend the summit in Sandton.
There has been speculation on whether Putin was going to attend or not.
The official opposition even went to court to force the government to arrest the Russian president when he lands in South Africa, over charges by the International Criminal Court that Ukrainian children were allegedly illegally deported into Russia during the conflict between the two countries.
The opposition said South Africa has an obligation to arrest Putin.
Ramaphosa confirmed on Wednesday that Putin will no longer attend the summit.
“By mutual agreement, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation will not attend the Summit, but the Russian Federation will be represented by Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov,” said Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.
Lavrov was in South Africa in June to attend the Foreign Ministers summit.
Ramaphosa and his government have been trying to deal with the issue of Putin for months.
He even appointed his deputy, Paul Mashatile to look at ways in which this would have to be handled.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola told the UN this week that the International Criminal Court would have to fair in prosecuting war crimes, saying cases in Palestine, Iraq and other parts of the world have not been dealt with by the court.