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BRICS Foreign Ministers Speak Out for Needs of the Global South

May 20, 2022 (EIRNS)—On the evening of May 19, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted the other Foreign Ministers of the BRICS nations—Carlos Franca of Brazil, Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar of India, and Naledi Pandor of South Africa—met virtually to address the pressing needs of their nations as representative of the developing nations of the Global South. As currently constituted, the BRICS represent 40% of the world’s population and 20% of global GDP.

But a separate session of the “BRICS Plus” grouping, including representatives from Central Asia, Southwest Asia, Africa, Asia and Ibero-America, signals that the BRICS’ leaders envision an expanded and even more representative grouping. Foreign ministers of Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Thailand participated in this group, and thanked China for initiating the “BRICS Plus” dialogue, noting that it will help foster cooperation and coordination among emerging markets and developing nations in a very challenging international situation.

In his address to the BRICS members, Chinese President Xi Jinping identified priority themes for what he said was a time of great “turbulence and transformation,” requiring a strengthening of cooperation and solidarity and a focus on international peace and development. He particularly emphasized the need to seek “common security” in the world through his Global Security Initiative. “Seeking one’s own security at the expense of others will only create new tensions and risks,” he warned, so it is crucial for the BRICS to strengthen political and mutual trust and security cooperation, and to communicate and coordinate on major regional and international issues. Bloc confrontation, Cold War mentality and power politics should be rejected in favor of building a global community of “security for all,” he underscored.

As chair of the meeting, Wang Yi called on members to resist any moves intended to divide the world, emphasizing China’s role in promoting peace talks in the Ukrainian conflict. Providing more weapons to Ukraine won’t advance the cause of peace, he said; nor will sanctions resolve Europe’s security dilemma. The international community must work together to bring about peace and not throw fuel on the fire. He made the point that the United States doesn’t speak for the majority of the world, but the BRICS do speak for a large number of developing countries.

One point that Wang made was also included in the 24-point Joint Statement issued at the end of the meeting: True multilateralism must be upheld to guarantee the survival of developing nations. Thus, there must be a global governance system that best reflects the legitimate concerns of most countries, especially developing nations. Wang insisted there must be a sustained focus on development as well, pointing to the importance of Xi’s Global Development Initiative. The Joint Statement also stresses that international law must be upheld, including “the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations ... and to the central role of the United Nations in an international system in which sovereign states cooperate to maintain peace and security.”

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