BRICS to strengthen political cooperation: Putin

Moscow : BRICS countries intend to strengthen the political element of their cooperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said here before leaving for the BRICS leaders summit in Brazil beginning Tuesday.

“We will develop the practice of mutual consultations and joint actions in international organisations, first of all, in the UN. In the long term, we will create a virtual BRICS secretariat,” Putin told ITAR-TASS in an interview.

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“At the same time, I would like to stress that we do not have any plans to form a BRICS military and political alliance,” he added.

Elaborating on the mechanism of political cooperation, the Russian president said: “We propose to create a mechanism of regular high-level consultations between our foreign ministries on different regional conflicts to agree on common positions and joint efforts to ensure their political and diplomatic settlement.”

At the summit he would raise the issue of increasing cases of unilateral sanctions, Putin said.

“Together we should think about a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies,” Putin said.

Russia has recently been put under sanctions by the US and allies over its standoff with Ukraine.

In the economic sphere, the group of emerging economies are going to discuss the overdue reform of the international financial system.

“The BRICS countries are concerned about the unreasonable delay in holding a debate of the subject of IMF reforms. This jeopardises all the efforts of G20 in this direction,” Putin said.

“In the meantime, it is the case of fulfilling the rightful demands of new economies to balance the IMF according to the 21st century reality,” he added.

Currently, a BRICS’ Economic Cooperation Strategy is being drafted on Russia’s initiative, while a number cooperation ventures are being explored to ensure the document becomes reality.

“It will focus on creating preconditions for accelerated economic development and strengthening the international competitiveness of our countries, the expansion and diversification of trade relations, and ensuring interaction for innovative growth,” Putin said.

“A number of prospective cooperation ventures are being studied to make sure the document is backed by concrete investment”, he added.

Another common issue is about the rules of responsible behaviour in the global information space.

“Such rules must be based on the principles of respect for a country’s sovereignty, non-interference in domestic affairs, observance of human rights and freedoms, as well as equal rights for all countries to participate in Internet management,” Putin said

“We are planning to shape a joint information policy in the international arena to support BRICS’ activity and to present a more unbiased picture of the world”, he added.

The Sixth BRICS Summit, being held in Fortaleza and capital Brasilia July 15-16, is expected to see finalisation of setting up of the long-discussed BRICS development Bank and the foreign currency reserves pool.

The BRICS development bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement are seen as a counterweight to the Western-dominated financial organisations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The bloc, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, accounts for over 40 percent of the global population and has a combined GDP of $24 trillion.