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updated 2:24 PM UTC, May 10, 2017

Deputy Foreign Minister, Russian Sherpa in BRICS Sergei Ryabkov's Article «BRICS: Common Approaches and Concrete Measures» for the magazine «Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn’»

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There is hardly any other international entity more dynamic and rapidly strengthening its positions than the BRICS interstate association. Its members are countries with a market economy having a high potential of growth and oriented to modernization and innovations.

Little time has passed since this format of cooperation has been setup, nevertheless, it has taken a high place in the international system of coordinates and turned into a major element of global management.

The BRICS format is closely connected with reality, and it has emerged due to the objective processes of redistribution of forces and influence in the world. BRICS is an embodiment of the growing consolidation of positions of the so-called new development centers, although countries whose history is millennia-old can hardly be referred to as “newcomers.”

 The BRICS main feature is its modern character, correspondence to the requirements of the epoch of the building up of a polycentric world order reflecting the cultural and civilizational varieties of the present-day world. The BRICS member states are united by a positive agenda aimed at creating favorable economic and political conditions for the development of the association’s countries and improvement of their peoples’ living standards.

BRICS fully complies with the requirements of the 21st century, when the pivot of joint work is equality and consensus. BRICS is a democratic format and there is no compulsion and strict bloc discipline inherent in archaic military political alliances. Any result achieved by the association is a genuine common denominator of the national interests of the five BRICS member states. The idea of network diplomacy, when the joint efforts of states are dictated by their common interests, has been realized in BRICS. And in cases of their differing approaches a painstaking creative work is carried on to make them tie-in.

Our cooperation is not aimed against any third countries. BRICS does not threaten anyone, but provides an example of how to reach the goals set through dialogue based on mutual respect. The brand of BRICS from its very inception has been its openness and common will to agree on all issues of mutual interest.

Those who criticize this association claim that the BRICS states differ from one another too much economically, historically, and culturally, and therefore, there can be no talk of any broad and stable partnership. Such critical remarks are prompted not by concern about the BRICS future, but by a certain political order and geopolitical interest, namely, to prevent the further development of the association.

Naturally, each BRICS member is unique in many respects. But we are close and united by similarity of development tasks facing us, solidarity in the strengthening of international stability, and the common agenda on whose basis the BRICS countries work in their home and foreign policies. It is affiliation of our states to different civilizations that adds special stability and prestige to BRICS.

The long-term objective of Russia and its partners as stated in the Durban Declaration of the association (2013) is to turn BRICS into a full-fledged mechanism of strategic and current interaction on the key problems of world politics and economics. While performing the functions of its presidency of BRICS (April 2015-February 2016), Russia is oriented, above all, to solution of this task. The program of our chairmanship is fully in line with the premises of the Russian Federation Participation Concept in this interstate association and the Concept of the Russian Federation Presidency in BRICS.

The important priority of the long-term joint work of The Five is the strengthening of security and stability in the world. The BRICS member states proceed from the premise that stability should be firm and security undivided based on firm guarantees. It is impermissible to bolster up one’s own security at the expense of security of others.

Against the backgroud of the aggravation of the international situation there is the growing need for coordination of the BRICS countries’ positions on resolving the crisis situations in various parts of the world. We proceed from the fact that there is no alternative to a search for a mutually accepted positive decisions at a negotiation table. The BRICS countries consistently advocate the unshakeable observance of the international law principles and the strengthening of the UN central coordinating role. They are against the use of double standards and the unlawful bringing pressure to bear by some states on others, including the use of unilateral sanctions.

It was precisely in this context that the problems of solving the situation in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa and the tasks of joining international efforts to counter terrorist threat from the region were discussed at the May 22 meeting of deputy foreign ministers of the BRICS member states in Moscow.

The elaboration of collective answers to threats and challenges of our time is still among our priorities for the foreseeable future. The point is the contribution of the BRICS association to the common efforts of the world forces fighting international terrorism, separatism, extremism, drug production and trafficking, crossborder criminality, and also to the strengthening of international information security. The meeting of the high representatives in charge of security problems (Moscow, May 25-26) was the key event in this sphere.

BRICS’ attention to the narcotics problem is growing. A step forward was made on April 22 during the BRICS Ministerial Meeting on Combating the Drug Threat in Moscow. Its participants agreed on the setting up of a BRICS Antidrugs Working Group.

All BRICS member states favor a reform of the international monetary system. We are worried over the absence of any progress in fulfillment of corresponding agreements, particularly, on redistribution of quotas in the IMF in favor of the developing countries. This undermines legitimacy of the IMF and trust in its decisions. The status quo cannot be preserved indefinitely. We shall join our partners in the work to rectify the situation.

The decisions on the setting up of the New Development Bank and the Foreign Currency Reserve Pool with aggregate capital of $200 billion taken in 2014 are a serious contribution to modernization and democratization of the system of international financial and economic relations. A full-format start of their work is one of our main goals. These mechanisms are oriented to stabilization of the national markets of capital in case of crisis situations in the global economy, broader possibilities of mutual crediting, and support of trade and investment ties of the BRICS member states.

We confidently move ahead along the road of development trade and economic relations. In actual fact, the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy up to 2020 has been agreed on, which will determine the objectives of our joint actions for the future. We see its implementation in a series of concrete projects. The Russian side will be ready to pass on to its colleagues about forty proposals in the form of a road map of investment cooperation. The road map is to become a useful reference point for the New Development Bank, the BRICS Business Council, and economic departments of the member states.

The BRICS Expert Dialogue on problems of electronic trade, whose first session was held on April 14, will contribute to the development of commercial ties. Our countries’ drawing closer together continues along the line of business community. On June 18, the BRICS Business Forum was held, and quite soon a regular meeting of the Business Council of The Five will take place. On May 26, on Russian initiative the heads of BRICS exhibition companies had a joint meeting.

We take care of strengthening the ecological component of our cooperation. On April 22, Moscow hosted the First Official Meeting of BRICS Environment Ministers which outlined our future common work pattern.

Several international conferences and round table discussionshave been organized under the Russian chairmanship on the subjects of health protection, among them “Contribution of the BRICS countries to overcoming arterial hypertension,” “Struggle against oncological diseases among children: BRICS experience,” “Struggle against passing HIV infections from mother to child: BRICS countries’ experience,” “Common threats – joint actions. The BRICS countries’ answer to challenges of dangerous infectious diseases.”

The beginning of the common Internet site functioning, the BRICS Virtual Secretariat, will contribute to the broadening of its common information space.

The BRICS member states are interested in diversification of ties within the framework of the association. Russian chairmanship is completely in line with this positive view. We have already planned to organize big forums (Parliamentary, Civil Society, Academic, International Youth Forum, and Trade Union Forum). We also intend to cooperate in such spheres as mining, energy, and telecommunications. The new areas of interaction will include migration policy, culture, technical inspection, and assistance to international development. We also plan to implement some fresh joint ideas in the field of science and education. In all, there will be over one hundred functions (including 19 meetings at a ministerial level) in 16 cities during our chairmanship.

The annual BRICS summit (July 8-9, 2015, Ufa) will be among the key events of Russia’s presidency, as well as an informal meeting of the BRICS leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya (November 15-16, 2015).

The openness of our association to the outside world is confirmed by the tradition of holding “outreach” format meetings, started at the Durban Summit in the RSA in 2013. States of the host country region are invited to attend. This course of BRICS will be reaffirmed in Ufa where the leaders of the BRICS member states and countries of the Eurasian area will get together.

Our association is looking into the future, its members are motivated by the tasks of common work in the interests of their peoples and for the sake of building a more just and democratic international system. Russian presidency has been a new important step on this road.

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