Israel-Hamas conflict: BRICS leaders, UN to hold video summit Tuesday on Gaza

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will chair a video summit with BRICS leaders on Tuesday to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The heads of state of six countries invited to join the group earlier this year — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates — will attend the talks, the presidency said in a statement on Monday. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will also participate in the virtual meeting, it said.

“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,” the South African presidency said.

The discussions will be the first by leaders of the bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa since the six nations were invited to join the group at its annual summit in August. Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech at the meeting, according to a government statement.

China is this week hosting senior officials from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority for two days of talks aimed at deescalating the war. The discussions will touch on protecting civilians and seeking a “just settlement of the Palestinian question,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The conflict erupted on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants swarmed southern Israel from Gaza, killing about 1,200 people and taking 240 others hostage. Israel’s retaliatory attacks have led to more than 13,000 deaths, while at least 30,000 people have been injured, according to the Hamas-run government media office.

It’s unclear whether the interventions by China and the other emerging powers have the potential to help bring about a cessation in hostilities, with Israel insisting that a cease-fire is contingent on Hamas releasing its hostages.

The meeting comes after South Africa last week joined five other developing nations in referring Israel to the International Criminal Court for war crimes over its conflict with Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.


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Updated: 20 Nov 2023, 11:01 PM IST

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