Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has praised his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa for his handling of the Brics summit that is ending with a decision to expand the bloc by six countries.
The group is currently made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which has been hosting the annual gathering, and there had been some disagreement about the move to increase its membership.
Mr Putin did not attend the Johannesburg summit in person because he is subject to an international arrest warrant, but he addressed the leaders by videolink.
“I must note that, as it turned out, this work was not easy, and President Ramaphosa showed amazing diplomatic skills in agreeing on all positions, including those related to the expansion of the Brics,” the Reuters news agency quotes him as saying.
“Our Brazilian colleague, President Lula da Silva, has just mentioned some of the most important points for all of us, among which I would, of course, single out the issues of a single accounting currency.”
He also expressed Russia’s wish to deepen ties with Africa, though he made no mention of the reported death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of the Wagner mercenary group that has a presence in several countries on the continent.
To nations joining next year – Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – he said: “We will continue the work that we have started today – to expand the influence of Brics in the world.”