BRICS foreign ministers express concern at conflicts, call for resolution through dialogue
The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) grouping on Friday expressed concern at violence and conflicts in different parts of the world and said such situations should be resolved peacefully through political dialogue.
The joint statement issued after a virtual meeting of Brics foreign ministers didn’t refer to any particular conflict, and the grouping has a convention of not taking up bilateral issues between its members. However, the meeting was held against the backdrop of the months-long border standoff between India and China, two of the grouping’s key members.
“The ministers expressed concerns at the rise of violence and continuing conflicts in different parts of the world that have significant impact at both the regional and international levels,” the joint statement said.
“They concurred that, irrespective of their historic background and distinctive nature, conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means and diplomatic engagement through political dialogue and negotiations in line with principles and norms of international law, particularly the UN Charter,” it added.
The ministers pointed to the UN Security Council resolution 2532 of 2020 demanding a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations, with the exception of operations against terror groups sanctioned by the Security Council, and calling for a “durable humanitarian pause” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministers also “underlined the imperative of dialogue to address increasing international peace and security challenges through political and diplomatic means”, the joint statement said.
A readout from the external affairs ministry said the discussions at the meeting centred round an overview of the global situation, including “new threats and challenges” and “regional hot spots”.
The Brics meeting was to have been held in Moscow on September 11 but was advanced to Friday and made a virtual event after the foreign ministers of Brazil and South Africa said they couldn’t travel because of the pandemic. Besides external affairs minister S Jaishankar, it was joined by China’s Wang Yi, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, who chaired the meeting. Brazil’s Ernesto Araújo, and South Africa’s Grace Naledi Pandor.
Jaishankar spoke to Wang soon after the June 15 clash at Galwan Valley, and the two leaders have joined several virtual multilateral meetings. Jaishankar and Wang are also expected to meet on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting in Moscow on September 10.
The foreign ministers also discussed Brics cooperation at international forums, including on key issues on the 75 UN General Assembly agenda, and reviewed progress in activities under the grouping.
Jaishankar said Brics has an important role to play in the wake of grave challenges in the economic, political, social and health fields. He highlighted India’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” initiative to foster mutually beneficial global economic engagement in economy, infrastructure, technology, demography and demand.
He also emphasised the need to reform the UN to reflect global realities and called for expansion of the Security Council in the permanent and non-permanent categories. He also called for reformed multilateralism, including reform of international bodies such as the WTO, IMF and WHO.
Jaishankar also highlighted the issue of terrorism and sought enhanced Brics cooperation in countering it. He expressed satisfaction at the conclusion of the Brics counter-terrorism strategy.
India is set to become the Brics chair in 2021, and Jaishankar said the country will continue to strengthen cooperation under the grouping’s three pillars of political and security cooperation, economics and trade and people-to-people contacts.
The ministers also reaffirmed support for a transparent, open, inclusive and non-discriminatory rules-based multilateral trading system, as embodied by the WTO, the joint statement said. They appreciated the role of the New Development Bank (NDB) in infrastructure and sustainable development financing and welcomed the NDB Board of Governors’ decision to establish an emergency assistance facility of up to $10 billion and the approval of four loans for a total of $4 billion.