BRICS foreign ministers met in Cape Town on Thursday 1 June. One of the current issues on the agenda is working out the criteria for accepting new members into BRICS. In addition, work will continue on preparations for the August 15th summit of the association.
The Chairperson of the meeting, Naledi Pandor, South Africa's Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the partnership of the 'Five' is to drive inclusion of Africa and the global South in a more just and equitable world based on the mutual respect and the equal sovereignty of nation.
"Our vision of BRICS sees our partnership as a catalyst for sustained and mutually beneficial global growth and sustainable development” she said.
For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed the fact that BRICS remains an example of a truly multilateral association.
"We appreciate and support the effective and energetic work of South Africa at the head of our association. The world is changing rapidly, the states of Asia, Africa and Latin America are strengthening their economic positions and demonstrating their willingness and readiness to defend their sovereign national interests and play an equal role in global processes"
Sergei Lavrov Russian Foreign Minister
Lavrov said that all BRICS foreign ministers in Cape Town needed to compare approaches on the domestic agenda of the 'Five', especially in aspects that are related to the 'approach to the expansion of our association'.
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in his welcoming remarks emphasised the need to address several critical issues at the meeting and urged the participants to work in the spirit of equality and mutual respect characteristic of BRICS to reach the necessary consensus.
"Our meeting will also be considering the comprehensive institutional development of BRICS. We approach this in a positive spirit and open minded. The decisions we take have far reaching consequences….. enhance are mutually beneficial cooperation in the times to come”
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar Indian Foreign Minister
Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira highlighted his country's work to return to CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and strengthen ties within the Common Market of South America (Mercosur), drawing parallels with Brazil's work on the African continent:"In the same spirit we are working to deepen our dialogue and cooperation with African countries, which have enormous potential for trade and investment…".
He also confirmed Brazil's goals of strengthening partnerships with the countries of the global South and the BRICS states, stressing that the bloc is an indispensable mechanism for building a multipolar world order that reflects the needs of developing countries.
The BRICS grouping seeks to strengthen the voice and influence of developing countries in the international arena. Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said this on Thursday at the BRICS Foreign Ministers' Council meeting in Cape Town.
"We are following the trend of [developing] a multipolar world and democratising international relations, adhering to a true multilateralism, seeking to strengthen the voice and influence of developing countries in international affairs, promoting the reform and building of global governance," said Ma Zhaoxu.
Cape Town is hosting a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) on 1-2 June.
Photo: screenshot from the live broadcast of the BRICS Foreign Ministers' Council meeting
"A high level of cooperation is maintained with Latin American countries in the humanitarian sphere. The number of countries with which we have established a visa-free regime is steadily growing - currently it covers 27 Latin American states. This opens up more and more opportunities for business, scientific and cultural exchanges, as well as increasing counter tourist flows"