In a surprising turn of events, Russia has voiced its strong opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s attendance at the upcoming BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit, citing what it calls a “hostile and unacceptable” policy towards Moscow. This development adds further strain to an already delicate global diplomatic landscape.
The BRICS Summit, an annual gathering of the world’s major emerging economies, serves as a platform for member countries to discuss and coordinate their positions on key international issues. However, Russia’s objection to President Macron’s presence raises concerns about potential divisions and escalating tensions within the group.
Russia Rejects Macron’s Participation in BRICS Summit
In response to inquiries from journalists on Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov commented on the potential involvement of French President Emmanuel Macron in the forthcoming BRICS leaders’ summit. Scheduled to be held in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24, the summit is being hosted by South Africa, the current BRICS presidency holder. The BRICS coalition consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
According to a Russian official’s statement to reporters, Russia has notified its South African counterparts that the participation of the French president in the upcoming BRICS summit would be deemed “inappropriate.” The official, quoted by Tass publication, emphasized that while recognizing South Africa’s prerogative to extend invitations to specific guests, it is crucial to consider BRICS as an alliance that unequivocally opposes the application of unilateral sanctions to address foreign policy matters. Therefore, the presence of Western officials at the BRICS summit would be deemed unsuitable. Ryabkov also stated, as quoted by RIA news agency, that:
“Clearly, leaders of states that pursue such a hostile and unacceptable policy towards us, discussing with such emphasis and conviction that Russia should be isolated on the international stage, and share the common NATO line on inflicting a so-called strategic defeat on us — such a leader is an inappropriate BRICS guest.”
Russia’s Clear Stance Communicated to South Africa: Expectation of Full Acceptance
“The official added that our position is openly articulated, without any concealment. We have conveyed this stance to our colleagues from South Africa, and we anticipate that our perspective will be wholeheartedly acknowledged.”
According to Tass news agency, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that Russia is unaware of the capacity or reasons behind French President Macron’s possible participation in the BRICS leaders’ summit. Peskov was quoted as saying, “To be frank, we are unaware of the capacity or reasons. We do not have such information available.”
During her discussions in Johannesburg with South African counterpart Naledi Pandor, French Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna stated on Tuesday that President Macron would contemplate attending the BRICS summit if he received a formal invitation. Colonna emphasized that the decision to extend an invitation to the French president rests not with France but with the BRICS alliance and primarily with South Africa as the hosting nation of the summit.
In conclusion, the controversy surrounding French President Emmanuel Macron’s potential attendance at the BRICS Summit continues to escalate. Russia has firmly opposed Macron’s presence, citing what it perceives as a hostile policy towards Moscow. This opposition raises concerns about divisions within the BRICS alliance and potential strains in relations between member countries. France, on the other hand, maintains its interest in participating, emphasizing that the decision lies with the BRICS nations, particularly South Africa as the host. As the summit approaches, the outcome of this diplomatic standoff remains uncertain. It underscores the challenges of balancing cooperation and diverging interests among global powers, emphasizing the need for ongoing diplomatic efforts to bridge gaps and foster mutual understanding.