Brics should act as bulwark against US – Putin

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br NGI_0750b (43285129) Supplied President Jacob Zuma (left) leads a South African delegation during bilateral talks with China's President Xi Jinping and his delegation ahead of a two-day Brics summit that began yesterday in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Supplied

Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged fellow leaders of the largest emerging economies to seek a bigger global role, accusing the US and its allies of abusing their dominance of international institutions.

“It is time to raise Brics’s role to a new level and to make our group an inalienable part of the global order to ensure sustainable development,” Putin told news agency Itar-Tass, according to a transcript released yesterday.

The group began a two-day summit yesterday in Brazil’s coastal city of Fortaleza and the capital Brasilia.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known as the Brics, should co-ordinate their policies to “help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with the foreign policy decisions made by the US and their allies,” Putin said, thanking the other members of the group for their support over the Ukraine conflict.

Russia, which has been hit with sanctions over its role in Ukraine’s conflict amid the biggest confrontation with the US and Europe since the Cold War, is trying to shore up its global clout through other alliances. All Brics members except for Russia abstained from a UN vote in March that called on states not to recognise Crimea’s secession from Ukraine. Russia was one of 11 countries in the 193-member UN General Assembly to reject the US-backed resolution.

Thanks to the “principled” stance at the UN of Russia and China, both permanent members of the Security Council, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had avoided the fate of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, the Russian leader said.

Putin also demanded changes to the global financial system, including greater say at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emerging powers, to end the dependence on US economic policies. Brics will approve the creation of a $100 billion (R1 trillion) reserve fund and $50bn development bank at the summit in Brazil.

Emerging nations have sought more voting powers at the IMF and an end to the convention of naming a European to head the Washington-based lender and an American to lead the World Bank.

The Brics has evolved from the term “Bric” coined in 2001 by then-Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill to describe the growing weight of the largest emerging markets. South Africa joined in 2011 to broaden the geographic representation. Still, the group has struggled to make its voice heard. The five countries failed to agree on candidates to head the World Bank and the IMF. – Bloomberg

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