DURBAN, March 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Durban on a two-day visit Tuesday to attend the fifth BRICS summit with the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa.
During the visit, Putin is expected to hold talks with South African President Jacob Zuma, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
Russia's presidential aide Yury Ushakov said Putin was due to hold bilateral talks with the South African president Tuesday after which the leaders will sign a raft of documents and make a joint statement. The Russian president will later meet with India’s premier and attend a cultural program, Putin’s aide said. The talks between the Russian and Egyptian leaders are due on Wednesday.
At the summit, the leaders could take a decision on setting up a BRICS Development Bank, which Kommersant daily said earlier this month could be headquartered in Moscow and have capital of $50 billion. The finance ministers of the BRICS countries met ahead of the summit and reached an agreement over the establishment of a bank, according to Agence France Presse news agency, which cited South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as saying that the ministers had “made very good progress” and that the leaders would announce the details.
The summit’s agenda is also expected to focus on the creation of a virtual Secretariat, a Bank for International Settlements, and an anti-crisis fund that Kommersant estimated could hold $240 billion.
The summit, which starts at 21:30 Moscow time (17:30 GMT), will also touch upon key international issues, such as the ongoing conflict in Syria, the Cypriot financial crisis and problems in Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East.
Ushakov said that during the summit, Putin might also hold discussions with the leaders of Mozambique and Ethiopia.
Last week, Putin said the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) organization should be transformed from a limited agenda forum into a full-fledged cooperation mechanism.
“We do not view the BRICS as a geopolitical competitor to the western countries and their organizations; on the contrary, we are open to discussions with all interested parties within the framework of the multipolar peace model,” the Russian president said.
Updated with paras 4-8.