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BRICS Summit Preps And Peace Talks On Ramaphosa’s Agenda

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be among a reduced number of African heads of state at the start of Thursday’s Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg, compared to the inaugural event in 2019.

In welcoming leaders to Russia on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin said his government supported the aspiration of African nations to secure socioeconomic stability.

Putin – who is expected to meet all of the 21 African leaders attending the summit for bilateral talks, said Russia intends to increase trade and investment in Africa and to help deal with pressing issues like poverty, food security, and climate change.

Ramaphosa’s second visit to the country in just over a month follows a week in which government was forced by the court to make it harder for Putin to travel to South Africa by issuing a warrant for his arrest.

Upon arrival on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said he would use the occasion to finalise preparations for August’s BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summit.

Ramaphosa convinced Putin not to attend in person considering the warrant for his arrest on war crimes.

However, Dzvinka Karchur, a geopolitical analyst from Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Sustainability Transitions, said she doesn’t believe this will impact South Africa’s relations with Russia.

“The South African government has not really acted upon this arrest. It was forced into this situation and if you look at the language between the two countries, it remains very amicable.

“Ramaphosa’s visit to the Russia-Africa summit shows the relationship remains close between the two countries.”

Ramaphosa said during his stay, he would also continue with the peace talks that were initiated by African leaders in June to end the war in Ukraine.

Organisers of the summit, however, barred veteran South African foreign affairs journalist Peter Fabricius from attending the event.