Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov, is back in Africa on a charm offensive. Lavrov will take part in the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Cape Town later this week.
The Kremlin wants to stay close to its allies after it’s been pummelled with sanctions for invading Ukraine.
Lavrov’s first stop was in Nairobi, Kenya where he met with President William Ruto and they discussed a number of issues including the grain deal.
Lavrov’s next stop is Burundi and the East African country is currently chairing the East African Community regional bloc.
This is what Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister, Dmytro Kuleba had to say during a recent visit to Africa in a bid to challenge Russia’s influence on the continent.
“Bread prices in Africa, Asia and in South Africa depend on a very simple fact, how much grain can be exported from Ukraine per year. And if Russia did not invade, we wouldn’t have had this problem, but we are certain about that, but in the meantime we want to revive our relations.”
The war between Russia and Ukraine however, has intensified and there are fears that this may hinder the upcoming peace mission led by six African Heads of state.
Arrest warrant for Putin
The issue of the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Putin is a thorny one for the African continent.
Former President Thabo Mbeki says Africa must strengthen internal institutions that are meant to hold leaders accountable.
“What is critically important is, the continent must establish its African court of justice which has been agreed, the countries have been slow in terms of ratifying that, Africa should do this so that, we aren’t threatened by the International Criminal Court, who people who commit these offences can appear before it and they don’t have to go to the ICC.”
The South African government has also issued a notice in the government gazette on diplomatic immunities and privileges for the upcoming BRICS Foreign Ministers gathering as well as the BRICS Summit in August.
Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Clayson Monyela says, “This is a standard conferment of immunities that we do for all international conferences and summits held in South Africa irrespective of the level of participation. The immunities are for the conference and not for specific individuals. They are meant to protect the conference and its attendees from the jurisdiction of the host country for the duration of the conference. These immunities do not override any warrant that may have been issued by international tribunal against any attendee.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken legal action to force the government to arrest Vladimir Putin if he attends the BRICS summit scheduled to be held in South Africa later this year.
Glynnis Breytenbach explains DA attempt for arrest of Putin