SAfrica: French President Emmanuel Macron not invited to BRICS Summit

SAfrica: French President Emmanuel Macron not invited to BRICS Summit

French President Emmanuel Macron has not been invited to the BRICS summit – a group of five countries comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The announcement was made by South Africa’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Naledi Pandor, at a press briefing on Monday August 7, to review preparations for the BRICS summit, South Africa is hosting in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24.

Naledi Pandor mentioned the guest list, which includes 67 leaders from African and Southern countries. It had already been established that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be attending the summit virtually, and would be represented by Sergei Lavrov. However, Naledi Pandor also made it clear that the French President had not been invited.

Emmanuel Macron had clearly announced his desire to attend this BRICS summit, notably through his Minister of Foreign Affairs. To justify the French president’s possible attendance as an observer, Catherine Colonna explained during a visit to South Africa at the end of June that “we need to talk to understand each other and find solutions”. At the time, her South African counterpart was not totally opposed to this possibility.

The idea ultimately flopped, as Naledi Pandor confirmed on Monday that “no such invitation has been sent out”, a decision taken in consensus with the other BRICS countries and one that will not displease the Kremlin. Moscow felt that such an invitation would be “inappropriate”, given France’s position on the war in Ukraine and its membership of NATO.

The possibility of a Western head of state taking part in the meeting came as a surprise when it was first mooted, but it is in fact in line with Emmanuel Macron’s statement to the French press during his visit to China that he “rejects a bloc-to-bloc logic” and advocates European “strategic autonomy”.

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