On Thursday, the BRICS countries adopted an Ufa Declaration, Ufa Action Plan, the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, an agreement on cultural cooperation, the Memorandum of Understanding between the BRICS foreign ministries on the creation of the BRICS website, and a memorandum of understanding between BRICS banks and the New Development Bank (NDB).
The agreements provide further evidence of strengthened ties among five emerging countries “that are united by national interests,” as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
The leaders held a number of bilateral meetings during the summit and will hold the next informal meeting in November on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Turkey’s Antalya.
The Ufa Declaration is seen as one of the most important documents signed at the summit, as it outlines the common position of the five emerging economies on a wide range of international political and economic issues.
In the politics, the document supported a political and a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria, through dialogue between the country’s government and various militias. It also marked the fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups as a key points of the agenda.
BRICS denounced military interventions, as well as the imposition of economic sanctions in violation of international law.
BRICS urged Israel and Palestine to achieve a two-state solution to resolve their conflict, and condemned Israel for constructing settlements on occupied territories.
In the social sphere, the declaration touched upon the recent international rise of undocumented immigrants and stressed that the international community must address root causes of the displacement of people from their homelands.
In the sphere of technology, BRICS condemned illegal electronic surveillance and mass collection of private data. In order to promote privacy rights, a working group on information and communication technologies was formed.
In economics, BRICS reiterated global financial system reform to provide for the needs of emerging economies.
The five countries expressed disappointment with the failure of the United States to ratify the 2010 reform package for the International Monetary Fund.
BRICS recognized the importance of industrial development as a real indicator of economic growth in light of global economic instability. It outlined mining, metal, pharmaceutical, IT, chemical and petrochemical sectors as potential areas of collaboration between member states.
Last year, BRICS member states adopted a Fortaleza Declaration.
During a bilateral meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff discussed cooperation in nuclear energy, among other issues. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the Brazilian side also raised the topic of “difficulties Brazilian exporters have delivering agricultural products to Russia.”
At Putin’s meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma, the two leaders emphasized that nuclear power development is a priority in both countries. They agreed to promote a humanitarian partnership and boost cultural exchange, and develop increased military and technical cooperation.
Putin met with the Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders highlighted the need for closer integration between China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union, which Beijing sees as one of the main aspects of future cooperation, according to Peskov.
Nuclear energy and the military-technical sphere were also on the table during a meeting between Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Putin said Russia, India and South Africa could raise mutual trade if they settle their payments in national currencies, and the “same development with India, Brazil, and South Africa would be interesting and would certainly increase total trade turnover.” He added that Moscow and Beijing have already reached a deal on using national currencies in trade.
BRICS and International Organizations
The Ufa Trade Union Declaration adopted Thursday noted that BRICS is a more flexible format for resolving global issues than the UN Security Council. At the same time, the BRICS countries note the importance of working with the WTO and especially within the G20.
However, BRICS countries insist international financial architecture reform. In the Ufa Declaration, BRICS leaders expressed their disappointment with the failure of the United States to ratify the 2010 package of reforms to the International Monetary Fund, explaining that the US refusal “continues to undermine the credibility, legitimacy and effectiveness of the IMF.”
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Thursday that the alliance must make it a priority to increase representation in international organizations, including the IMF.
No New Members
BRICS current format is “an optimal one” and the union is not in a hurry to add new members, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s BRICS sherpa said Thursday.
“BRICS is not an organization, it is a collection of countries that are united by national interests. We think that the current format is an optimal one… After South Africa became a participating state, the leaders declared a moratorium on accepting new members. We do not exclude anything. What will happen should be driven by national interest.”
The summit will conclude on Friday, July 10.