Brics Ministers Unite, Push for Global Order Rebalance, Beyond the West

Brics Ministers Unite, Push for Global Order Rebalance, Beyond the West

Foreign ministers of the Brics group of nations, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, have convened in South Africa and called for a global order that moves away from Western dominance. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor expressed the group's vision of providing global leadership to address geopolitical tensions, inequality, and global insecurity. However, discussions were overshadowed by allegations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, which led to an arrest warrant being issued by the International Criminal Court for Russian President Vladimir Putin. As a member of the court, South Africa would be obligated to arrest him if he attended the Brics summit in Johannesburg in August.

Brics is often considered an alternative to the G7 group of developed nations, whose annual summit took place in Hiroshima, Japan, and included the leaders of Brazil and India. G7 members have been critical of Russia and China. With a combined population of over 3.2 billion people, representing around 40% of the world's population, Brics seeks to address economic concentration and the imbalance of power among nations.

During the talks, Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar emphasized the need for a strong message that the world is multipolar, undergoing a rebalancing, and that old approaches are insufficient for addressing new challenges. Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira described Brics as an indispensable mechanism for establishing a multipolar world order that addresses the needs of developing countries. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu suggested expanding the Brics group to provide assistance to developing countries and emerging market economies. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov mentioned the interest expressed by several countries, including Saudi Arabia, in joining the group.

Lavrov's presence at the event sparked protests, with demonstrators accusing him of being a "child murderer" due to the ICC's case against Putin. Some found it difficult to witness South African officials engaging with someone associated with alleged war crimes against Ukrainian children. South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has historical ties with Russia dating back to the apartheid era, and the country has refrained from criticizing Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, a deputy minister stated that South Africa intended to amend its laws to grant itself the authority to decide whether to apprehend a leader wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). During a press conference, Dr Naledi Pandor, South Africa's Foreign Minister, was asked by BBC correspondent Andrew Harding whether President Putin would be arrested if he attended the summit in August. In response, she stated that the final decision would be indicated by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Privately, a senior official referred to the situation as a challenging diplomatic predicament that the South African government was eager to resolve. One option reportedly being considered is relocating the summit to another country.

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