JOHANNESBURG, April 26 (AFP) - South Africa is not planning to quit the International Criminal Court (ICC), as earlier suggested by President Cyril Ramaphosa, his office said on Tuesday (Apr 25), citing a communication error from the ruling ANC party.

Hours earlier, Ramaphosa had said his African National Congress (ANC) had decided to withdraw South Africa from the ICC, which last month issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The ICC arrest warrant meant that Pretoria - due to host Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa bloc summit this year - would have to detain Putin on arrival.

"The presidency wishes to clarify that South Africa remains a signatory (to the ICC)," Ramaphosa's office said in a late-night statement.

It said the "clarification follows an error in a comment made during a media briefing held by the governing African National Congress (ANC)".

The ANC had earlier told journalists that the issue of South Africa withdrawing from the ICC had been raised at a weekend meeting of its national executive council.

Then, when questioned by a journalist during a joint media conference with the visiting President of Finland Sauli Niinisto, Ramaphosa said the ANC "has taken that decision that it is prudent that South Africa should pull out of the ICC".

The presidency said "regrettably" Ramaphosa had "erroneously affirmed a similar position" to the ruling party.

In another statement on Tuesday night, the ANC said an "unintended impression may have been created that a categorical decision for an immediate withdrawal had been taken. This is not so".

It said the executive committee, the party's supreme decision-making body, had discussed the "unequal" and "often selective application of international law by the ICC".