South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile congratulated the new partners - Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates - on joining BRICS, expressing confidence that the new members of the bloc will bring many fresh and productive ideas to the work of the bloc, as reported by the official website of the South African government.
In his speech, the politician outlined a range of issues that require constant work. Among such problems he called the role of the UN "in international affairs and consolidation of multilateral structures; reform of the Security Council; and justice of the international legal system; transition to a multipolar world and deepening economic globalisation; exploration of new trade and investment prospects; deepening cooperation in various areas, including research, education, health, environment and sports with a focus on youth and many other equally relevant and important tasks.
Mashatile recalled, "The First BRICS Parliamentary Forum was held on the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the founding of the world's leading intergovernmental organisation - the United Nations, our United Nations! The solemnity of this event was a vivid reminder of the importance of history. Some of our colleagues have rightly called on us to draw the relevant lessons."
Giving a brief historical overview of the struggle of different countries for independence and equality, Mashatile noted the continuity of the BRICS with the main thrusts of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The South African Deputy President went on to focus on the importance of parliamentary work, particularly within the BRICS framework, and the importance of training qualified personnel: "The single most powerful instrument parliamentarians have at their disposal is their command of law-making. Through coordinated efforts, you can have a positive impact on more than a quarter of the world's population by passing far-reaching, progressive legislation and repealing laws that do not improve people's lives. However, legislative change alone is not enough to make a difference."
Highlighting the importance of consolidation within the bloc, Mashatile pointed to the need to forge a common perspective on the development of individual countries, BRICS and the world at large.
He also highlighted the role of the BRICS Women's Business Alliance and its efforts in organising the BRICS-Africa WBA Trade Conference and expressed appreciation to its participants.
Emphasising the importance of the work done to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area, Mashatile said: "We look forward to working with our BRICS partners to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area and thereby creating a win-win solution for all. Let us seize this opportunity to strengthen the BRICS-Africa partnership and promote a just global order."Photo: Pretoria News, a partner of TV BRICS