BRICS: an extraordinary summit on the situation in the Middle East
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) do not intend to sit idly by in the face of what is happening in the Gaza Strip: they have decided to hold a virtual meeting on Tuesday to discuss the conflict. An extraordinary summit under the leadership of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who currently chairs the BRICS.
(From left to right) Brazilian President Lula, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, take part in the 2023 BRICS summit in Johannesburg, August 2023. © PHILL MAGAKOE / AFP
By: RFI Follow
United in denouncing an international order that they believe is dominated by the West. In this virtual meeting, the five BRICS countries will discuss the ongoing conflict: a war that is dividing the South and the West, with the latter criticised for their positions deemed too favourable to Israel. China and Russia can thus hope to take advantage of all the challenges faced by their great American rival and its allies.
South Africa is set to chair the online meeting, while the six countries that are set to join the group on 1 January, namely Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, as well as UN Secretary-General António Guterres, are also invited. A very heterogeneous group, which hopes to find a common position, despite differing opinions, reports our correspondent in Johannesburg, Claire Bargelès.
Widely Diverse Positions on the Conflict
Because the five BRICS countries have their differences: China wants to present itself as a possible mediator, and Russia, whose Kremlin has confirmed Vladimir Putin's participation in this meeting, is using the war to attack American supremacy.
Narandra Modi's India, for its part, has forged close ties with Israel, and has only recently condemned civilian casualties in Gaza. India and Ethiopia also abstained from the UN General Assembly's vote on humanitarian truces.
South Africa criticizes Israel
On the other hand, South Africa is increasing its criticism of Israel, calling for an investigation by the International Criminal Court. The issue is particularly close to the heart of his government, which has been vocal since the beginning of the war in denouncing what it describes as "atrocities" committed in the Gaza Strip, as the ruling ANC has always embraced the Palestinian cause.
Pretoria has also recalled its diplomatic staff from Tel Aviv, while on Monday, Israel also recalled its ambassador to Pretoria for "consultations". The ANC is in favour of closing the Israeli embassy in Pretoria.
It remains to be seen, therefore, what will be the content of the joint declaration that should be adopted at the end of this meeting. In any case, the five BRICS countries (before enlargement) will have the opportunity to meet again the next day, in a smaller circle, since they are due to participate in the virtual G20 summit scheduled for Wednesday.
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