South Africa will host a virtual summit of the BRICS group of countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday to discuss the war between Israel and Hamas, Pretoria and Moscow said on Monday.
The BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are a group of major emerging economies trying to reform the US- and Western-led world order.
Tuesday’s “Extraordinary Joint Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East in Gaza” will be hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in the hope of formulating a common response to the more than six-week conflict.
Leaders from Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates – all of which will join the BRICS group in January 2024 – will attend the meeting.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will also participate, the South African presidency said in a statement.
It added that all five BRICS heads of state will participate in the virtual summit, after which a joint statement with particular reference to Gaza is expected.
Fighting continues in Gaza after a Hamas bombardment of Israel on Oct. 7 killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostage, according to Israeli officials.
In Gaza, about 13,300 people, including more than 5,500 children, have been killed in the retaliatory air and ground offensive, officials in the Hamas-held area say.
South Africa has long been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party often linking it to its own struggle against apartheid.
The ANC said last Thursday it would support a parliamentary motion to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel until it agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza, denouncing the “genocidal actions of the Israeli regime”.
On Friday, South Africa, along with four other countries, called for an International Criminal Court investigation into the war between Israel and Hamas.
China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinians and supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Beijing has been calling for an immediate ceasefire since the war began last month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of stoking tensions in the Middle East and criticized Israel for its behavior in the conflict.
Putin skipped the latest annual BRICS summit in Johannesburg because he is the target of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court – a provision that South Africa would have to implement as a member of the ICC if he were to set foot in the country.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)