Putin, Xi and UN Secretary-General Guterres to attend virtual meeting on Israel-Hamas war

By The Associated Press
Posted 5:44AM on Tuesday 21st November 2023 ( 3 months ago )

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders from the BRICS bloc of developing countries will hold a virtual meeting on the Israel-Hamas war on Tuesday, with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also participating.

The leaders of fellow BRICS members Brazil, India and South Africa, as well as of Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, which are set to join the bloc in January, will also take part, according to the office of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa will chair the “extraordinary meeting” because of South Africa's position as current chair of BRICS, his office said. It said the leaders are expected to deliver statements on the “humanitarian crisis" in Gaza and will likely adopt a joint statement.

The meeting comes a day after China's top diplomat hosted the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Indonesia in Beijing, their first stop on a tour of U.N. Security Council permanent members. The meeting underlined China's longstanding support for the Palestinians and its growing geopolitical influence.

Russia has adopted a more cautious approach to the Israel-Hamas war, but also has an opportunity to advance its role as a global power broker.

Putin has condemned the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants on towns in southern Israel that sparked Israel's offensive in Gaza. More than 12,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank. Officials there say another 4,000 are missing.

But Putin has also warned Israel over its response and against blockading the Gaza Strip.

Russia and China are leading voices in BRICS, which has largely cast itself in recent years as standing against the perceived dominance of the West in global affairs. But it has also struggled to adopt united policies or positions on many issues because of the differing priorities of the five current members.

India, which also wants to be seen as a leader of the developing world, has long walked a tightrope between Israel and the Palestinians and historically has close ties to both.

South Africa has been fiercely critical of Israel over the war in Gaza and has filed a request with the International Criminal Court to investigate it over alleged war crimes. South Africa has for years compared Israel's policies in Gaza and the West Bank with the apartheid regime of racial segregation.

South Africa's Parliament is to vote on a motion on Tuesday to shut down the Israeli Embassy and sever ties with the country over the war. Israel on Monday recalled its ambassador to South Africa for discussions.


AP Israel-Hamas war coverage:

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an event to hand over new equipment for public transport to 12 regions of Russia via videoconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, left, meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Nov. 6, 2023. Albanese on Monday, Nov. 20, criticized China for a “dangerous” encounter between Chinese and Australian warships but declined to say whether he had raised the issue in recent talks with President Xi Jinping. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)
FILE - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa listens during the BRICS group of emerging economies three-day summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. Ramaphosa says his country has filed a referral to the International Criminal Court for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza. The move comes as South African lawmakers on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 were expected to debate a motion calling for the closure of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa and the cutting of all diplomatic ties with the country until it agrees to a cease-fire. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud speaks during a round table meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Arab and Islamic counterparts at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. Wang welcomed five Arab and Islamic counterparts to Beijing on Monday, saying his country would work with "our brothers and sisters" in the Arab and Islamic world to try to end the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

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