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WorldAsiaLavrov at BRICS foreign ministers' meeting: South and East suffer from hegemony displays - Reuters

Lavrov at BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting: South and East suffer from hegemony displays – Reuters

In the far south of Africa he arrived, completing his tour of the continent, during which he had previously visited Kenya, Burundi and Mozambique. The Republic of South Africa has become the end point of a long journey; Lavrov spent around 18 hours on the plane alone, traveling from country to country. And in South Africa it was already winter, it comes to the southern hemisphere just in June.

However, the unusual time of year did not affect the rich program of the Russian minister. The event he flew here for was held at a hotel in a scenic location by the Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of the famous 12 Apostles rocks. From this balcony, where Lavrov sometimes came out, you could see rocks on which seals bask. But there was no time to get distracted by beauty.

Even before the start of the meeting of foreign ministers, Lavrov managed to talk with his colleagues from South Africa, India and Saudi Arabia. The hostess of the meeting, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, warmly welcomed Lavrov, noting that she was very happy to see him here. She expressed her hope that the small room would not interfere with a serious conversation. Lavrov, of course, assured him of this. Accordingly, the ministers discussed bilateral relations, including strengthening trade, economic, scientific, humanitarian and inter-parliamentary ties, and paid attention to the initiative of a group of African leaders on the Ukrainian issue.

With Indian Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar, Lavrov exchanged impressions of Africa, especially the countries Lavrov visited as part of his tour before arriving in South Africa. As noted by the head of the Indian Foreign Ministry, he himself recently visited Burundi and Mozambique. The conversation also touched on cooperation within BRICS, G20, SCO. The ministers highly appreciated the dynamics of cooperation in the most important areas of the particularly privileged strategic partnership between our countries.

With Saudi Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Lavrov discussed the situation in Sudan, Yemen and Syria. The Saudi Foreign Minister, for his part, confirmed Riyadh’s support for all efforts aimed at resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

The BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting itself started a few hours later than expected. Brazilian Minister Mauro Vieira arrived in Cape Town after a long delay. But his colleagues were waiting for him.

As Lavrov noted in his opening remarks, he is happy to be back in this hospitable country.

– We appreciate and support the efficient work of South Africa at the head of our association. The world is changing rapidly, the states of Asia, Africa, Latin America are strengthening their economic positions, demonstrating their readiness to defend national interests, play an equal role in global processes, noted the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs foreign.

According to him, the unipolar world is a thing of the past, but manifestations of hegemonism persist, from which the South and the East suffer. The West, through financial blackmail, is trying to influence the choice of economic model and trading partners of other states.

“Such neocolonial ways, based on the desire to live at the expense of others, have the most negative impact on interstate communication and are unacceptable in the modern world,” Lavrov said.

The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry drew attention to the need to seek answers to the challenges of our time. And in this regard, he welcomed the holding of a separate session within the framework of the BRICS Ministerial Council under the Friends of BRICS format with the invitation of like-minded states, scheduled for Friday. Lavrov expressed his confidence that the prepared statement of foreign ministers would be a good contribution to the preparation of the statement of the leaders of the “five”, which will meet in August in Johannesburg.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta asked Sergey Viktorovich how he assessed the story in Western media that the summit could be moved from South Africa to China.

– As far as I know, this news was only published in one yellow English newspaper. But I don’t read English newspapers,” replied the minister.

During the meeting itself, the head of South Africa’s foreign ministry noted that the BRICS are capable of taking leadership in solving the problems currently facing humanity, including hunger and poverty.

“Our meeting must send a clear signal that the world is multipolar, that it is rebalancing and that old ways cannot cope with new situations,” the Indian foreign minister said.

“We are following the path of a multipolar world and the democratization of international relations, adhering to genuine multilateralism, working to increase the voice and influence of developing countries in international affairs, and promoting reform and formation of a global governance system,” said Ma Zhaoxu, representative of the People’s Republic of China.

And the Brazilian minister noted that his country sees the very association of the BRICS as an integral part of the multipolar world order.

Of course, issues such as expanding the format and creating a single currency were also raised. On the first point, Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, provided his clarifications on the sidelines of the Ministerial Council. According to him, the issue of BRICS expansion has been discussed for some time now, “there are several strong candidates to join this format.” Ryabkov did not list them, only noting that Saudi Arabia is one of them. It is no coincidence that Lavrov spoke on Thursday with the minister of this country in addition to the BRICS foreign minister (except for the representative of China, since his deputy Ma Zhaoxu arrived in Cape Town in instead of Qin Gang).

As for the single currency, this question is still under study. The ministers approached this subject in a “conceptual form”, so to speak.

The question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will come to the BRICS summit, which will be held in South Africa in August, has particularly interested journalists. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor stressed that “the leaders of the five countries have been invited to the summit, the invitations remain in effect”.

Clarifications were needed due to the fact that the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against the Russian leader. Many countries do not recognize its jurisdiction, but South Africa will submit to it, although in this case it is clearly trying to find a way out of the impasse into which the republic has been dragged by the decision of the body sitting in The Hague. The South African president even said that his country might consider withdrawing from the ICC, although this statement was later called “erroneous”. Nevertheless, Pretoria guaranteed diplomatic immunity to all distinguished guests.

By the way, Ukrainian activists tried to overshadow the work of the event, unfurled flags near the hall where Lavrov held meetings, but he did not even notice their attempts. Periodically, this small group of people, ten people at most (there were more police around), would sing the song “Chervona Ruta”. The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, drew attention to the fact that this was a very strange choice given Kiev’s policy of rejecting everything Soviet. After all, this very song became the winner of the 1st All-Union Television Festival of Soviet Songs.

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