MENA countries to attend South Africa BRICS summit on Gaza
Leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and the United Arab Emirates will on Tuesday attend a virtual summit of the BRICS group of nations hosted by South Africa.
All 3 countries are due to join BRICS in January 2024.
The BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- are a group of major emerging economies seeking to reshape the US and Western-led global order.
Tuesday's "Extraordinary Joint Meeting on the Middle East Situation in Gaza" will be hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in the hope of drawing up a common response to the more than six-week conflict.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also participate, the South African presidency said in a statement.
It added that all five BRICS heads of state will join the virtual summit, after which a joint statement with particular reference to Gaza is expected.
Israel continues its ground and air assault on Gaza, which has so far resulted in the deaths of over 13,300 Palestinians, including at least 5,600 children.
South Africa has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party often linking it to its own struggle against apartheid.
The ANC said last Thursday that it would support a parliamentary motion to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel until it agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza, decrying the "genocidal actions of the Israeli regime".
On Friday, South Africa joined four other nations in calling for an International Criminal Court investigation into the Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
On Monday, Israel recalled its ambassador to South Africa, citing statements the country had made regarding its conduct in the war on the Palestinian enclave.
China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinians and supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of stoking tensions in the Middle East, and criticised Israel for its conduct in the conflict.
Putin skipped the last BRICS annual summit in Johannesburg as he is the target of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant -- a provision that South Africa as an ICC member would be expected to implement if he were to set foot in the country.