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Russia Assumes BRICS Chairmanship; Putin Vows To Take BRICS Partnership to ‘a New, Higher Level’

April 1, 2015 (EIRNS)—Today, Russia officially took over the rotating chairmanship of the BRICS group from Brazil, and in a speech celebrating the occasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined the priorities for the group over the next year, emphasizing that "Russia’s Presidency is committed to taking the BRICS partnership to a new, higher level. I am sure that this is in the interests not only of people in the BRICS countries, but all around the world."

The Russian leader pointed out that the BRICS are "home to nearly half of our planet’s population," and while it is still young, "it has already proven its effectiveness." Its members are

"coordinating their policies on key international issues ever more closely, and are playing an active part in shaping a multipolar world order and developing modern models for the world’s financial and trading systems."

Putin noted that the upcoming BRICS summit in Ufa on July 8-9, coincides with two very important anniversaries: the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and 70 years since the end of World War II. "Aware of the past’s tragic lessons," he pointedly stated,

"the BRICS countries consistently support peaceful settlement of international conflicts and condemn any attempts to use force and pressure or intervene in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Russia’s Presidency will focus on putting the BRICS group’s possibilities for strengthening global security and stability to most effective use."

Another top priority, Putin underscored, is financial and economic cooperation within the BRICS group. Specifically, he said, this means supporting the adoption of the BRICS countries’ Strategic Economic Partnership and facilitating "the launch of the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement," in addition to expanding cooperation in the energy sector, mining industry, and information and communications technology.

The focus on culture and youth is also primary, Putin said. The BRICS will emphasize developing "humanitarian contacts in education, culture, science and healthcare." During Russia’s presidency, "the BRICS Youth Summit and the Global University Summit will take place, and we will establish the BRICS Network University." Efforts will also be made to develop inter- parliamentary dialogue, "through which lawmakers can take direct part in resolving the tasks before the BRICS group."

The brics2015.ru is the official website of Russia’s chairmanship of the BRICS, which highlights Russia’s priorities for the next year of its chairmanship, includes important speeches, a calendar of upcoming events, and graphics of the "BRICS in numbers," noting that as a whole, the group represents 42% of the world’s population and 26% of the world’s territory, among other things. The website then breaks this down country by country.