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BRICS to meet in Cape Town, Putin to attend despite ICC arrest warrant

Flags of the nations that belong to the BRICS External (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) group in a typographic illustration. Image courtesy of Pixabay External.

The five foreign ministers of the BRICS member states will be joined by 15 other foreign ministers representing Africa, the Global South, and Friends of BRICS nations.

In its second decade BRICS has emerged as the world's most powerful economic grouping, with expanding recognition for being a powerhouse of global growth.

The economic rise of BRICS also marks an important geopolitical drift as this grouping has come to be seen as an alternative to the US led liberal world order.

For instance, the collective gross domestic product of BRICS has surpassed the US led Group of Seven (G7) in purchasing power parity terms, while the collective GDP of the G7 shrank from 50.42% of world GDP in 1982, to 30.39% in 2022 the BRICS collective GDP for the same period enhanced its share from 10.66% to 31.59%.

While the COVID 19 pandemic decimated the G7 economies, BRICS economies, especially those of China and India, continue to show strong potential.

The Ukraine war has further set the stage for BRICS becoming increasingly influential, as the grouping is seen as the most reliable partner for Russia.

The BRICS nations have not collaborated with Western economic sanctions that seek to impose obligations on other nations.

While the United States has been busy raising a coalition of 50 or so nations to supply Ukraine for its war efforts, South Africa, the current chair of BRICS, has prioritized the bloc playing a greater role in ending the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

This clearly reflects the new bold BRICS. Despite the International Criminal Court having issued an arrest warrant for Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and South Africa has announced it will honor diplomatic immunity for all officials from Russia.

This confidence and enthusiasm both within BRICS and about BRICS makes their discussions both interesting and intriguing with implications beyond these five nations.

For instance, about two dozen nations have expressed an interest in joining the BRICS grouping, with 20 having formally applied for membership.

These applicants include nations from across the world, including Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Thailand, and, Venezuela.

Expanding intra-BRICS trade has been the primary tool for strengthening the forum. This has lately seen increasing focus on exploring alternatives to reduce their dependence on the US dollar and creation of the BRICS currency is expected to be on top of their agenda this week.

South Africa's leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance Party, said on Tuesday it had taken legal action to force the government to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin were he to attend a planned summit in the country.

In March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin, who is to visit Cape Town for a Brazil Russia, India, China, and, South Africa, block meeting in August.

On Tuesday, the Democratic Alliance Party said it had launched a court application to ensure the government detains the Russian leader and hands him over to the ICC, should President Putin set foot in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress Secretary General has blasted the West's pressure on his country

Putin is a head of state, do you think that a head of state can just be arrested anywhere? How many crimes of your country committed in Iraq? How many crimes have everyone else who's so focused today committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, have you arrested?

Fikile Mbalula, ANC Secretary General

Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, announced on Tuesday that Russia will take part in the summit at the proper level.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, also confirmed he will attend the BRICS foreign ministers meeting at the end of this week in Cape Town.

Russian officials had previously said that Putin had been invited to attend the summit.

This comes as the government of South Africa has granted diplomatic immunity to officials attending a BRICS foreign ministers meeting this week as well as the group's heads of state summit in August.

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