Foreign Minister of the Republic of South Africa Naledi Pandor said that the country would not consider Russia an enemy “at the request of other states.”
Her statement came amid uncertainty about Vladimir Putin’s visit to South Africa for the August BRICS summit due to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the Russian president (South Africa recognizes the jurisdiction of this instance).
“There are those who would like us not to have relations with Russia, but we have made it clear that Russia is a friend for many years. With many countries around the world, we cannot become enemies at the request of others,” Ms. Pandor said during a session of the intergovernmental commission of Russia and South Africa on trade and economic cooperation (quoted by RIA Novosti).
The head of the South African Foreign Ministry clarified that South Africa is not considering the possibility of joining the anti-Russian sanctions, but is in favor of deepening cooperation with the Russian Federation.
Earlier it was reported that the South African authorities will hold consultations with Russia in connection with the issuance of an ICC warrant for the arrest of President Vladimir Putin. In August 2023, a summit of the BRICS group is scheduled in South Africa, to which Mr. Putin has been invited.
The Kremlin did not say whether Mr. Putin plans to participate in the 15th BRICS summit in South Africa. As Reuters reported prior to the announcement of the ICC’s decision to issue a warrant for Vladimir Putin’s arrest, the Russian president’s visit to the event was “expected”.