While both Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have confirmed participation, India is likely to be represented by foreign minister S Jaishankar in the meeting that will be chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and will be followed by a joint statement on Gaza. UNSG Antonio Guterres, who has been calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, will also join the meeting.
It will be interesting to see if India endorses any joint statement calling for a ceasefire since it had, unlike other Brics founding members, not backed a UNGA resolution for a “humanitarian truce’’. While India had abstained from voting as the resolution didn’t explicitly condemn Hamas’ terrorist attacks, others had all voted in favour.
In fact, even among the new members, all except Ethiopia had voted in favour of the resolution. Like India, Ethiopia had abstained. Ramaphosa said Monday that peace won’t be possible until the “Palestinians are free’’.
PM Narendra Modi had condemned the Hamas terror attacks on the very first day of the conflict and, walking the diplomatic tightrope, his government later sought to balance India’s position by underlining the significance of international humanitarian law, sending aid to Gaza and reiterating support for a 2-state solution.
“President Ramaphosa will deliver opening remarks at the Brics Extraordinary Meeting, where member and invited States will also deliver country statements on the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza,’’ said South Africa in its announcement, adding that UN Secretary General António Guterres will participate in the virtual meeting too. It further said that at the end of the summit leaders are expected to adopt a Joint Statement on the situation in the Middle East, with “particular reference to Gaza”.
According to South Africa, some 1200 people in Israel and a further 11,000 in Gaza have been killed since the beginning of the conflict on October 7.
“As a government and as a people, we stand firm in our call for justice for the oppressed Palestinian people, for their rights and aspirations to be fulfilled, for the immediate cessation of hostilities, and for there to be accountability for the deplorable killings of civilians in this recent conflict. We maintain that peace will not be possible until Palestinians are free,” said Ramaphosa.
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