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BRICS Foreign Ministers Meet, Welcome 15 ‘BRICS-Plus’ Guests

June 1, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The foreign ministers of the BRICS nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—met in Cape Town, South Africa, today for a two-day summit, the second day of which will be dedicated to a meeting of the “BRICS-Plus,” the foreign ministers of the 5 member nations and 15 from nations of the Global South, including those seeking membership. Most of those attending tomorrow’s session will attend virtually, but the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, are attending in person.

According to South Africa’s Ambassador at Large for Asia and BRICS Anil Sooklal, up to 30 states have submitted official and unofficial applications for BRICS membership. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s goal to promote closer BRICS relations with African countries is reflected in the fact that among 15 top diplomats invited to the BRICS-Plus meeting, 8 are from Africa. There were many bilateral meetings held today among all the attendees with productive results.

The main task for this gathering is to prepare the agenda for the Aug. 22-24 summit of BRICS heads of state and government in Johannesburg, which may include creation of a BRICS currency and consolidating the BRICS as a leadership body that speaks for, and defends the interests of, the nations of the Global South. On the issue of the BRICS currency, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor pointed out that there are discussions underway worldwide, including among the BRICS nations, about ways to avoid the use of the U.S. dollar, and she stressed the need to strengthen the positions of BRICS currencies in international trade.

Western media covering the event couldn’t refrain from introducing geopolitical issues, blathering about the danger of the BRICS becoming a “counterweight to the U.S. and the EU,” how non-alignment is a problem, or speculating over whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will be able to attend the August BRICS summit because of the arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court. Reuters circulated a rumor that South Africa might ask Beijing to host the August summit, to avoid having to deal with the delicate issue of Putin and the ICC.

But introductory remarks made by each minister at the opening session this morning focused on the reality-based issues that are of primary concern for discussion. Minister Pandor said that “our vision of BRICS is for our partnership to provide global leadership in a world fractured by competition, geopolitical tension, inequality and deteriorating global security.”

India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar pointed to the concentration of economic power which “leaves too many nations at the mercy of too few.” He stressed the urgency of reforming the UN and its Security Council. “Old ways cannot address new situations. We are a symbol of change. We must act,” he said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov charged that sanctions directed against Russia and other countries by the West are instruments of colonialism, intended to unfairly suppress rivals in a global power struggle, Reuters reported him saying.

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