BRICS Foreign Affairs Ministers Meet As Tensions Rise Between SA And US

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The meeting of BRICS foreign ministers is taking place amid rising tension between South Africa and the US over South Africa’s position on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The meeting in Cape Town on Thursday is expected to lay the groundwork for the BRICS heads of State summit in August.

BRICS is expected to expand after 19 countries said they wanted to join the group, among them Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Indonesia.

Egypt recently joined as a member of the BRICS Bank. Saudi Arabia was also said to be in discussions to join the BRICS Bank, which is headed by former president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff.

While the foreign ministers meet, South Africa has been accused of sitting on the fence with regard to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed his senior ministers to meet G7 countries to explain South Africa’s position.

Pandor, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel are expected to lead missions with the G7 nations.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has issued diplomatic immunity to leaders of the nations who will attend the BRICS meeting.

South Africa said it was not the first time that this has been done.It happened in 2018 when the country hosted the BRICS summit in Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa had appointed his deputy, Paul Mashatile, to lead an inter-ministerial committee in the handling of the visit by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Ramaphosa has also appointed a panel, led by Judge Phineas Mojapelo, to probe the Russian ship that docked in Simon’s Town after the opposition said the had ship picked up arms destined for the Ukraine conflict.

He said the panel was expected to finish its work in six weeks and then hand over its report two weeks later.

Source IOL

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