BRICS leaders to adopt eThekwini Roadmap at SA summit
In the wake of the today’s summit BRICS leaders are expected to adopt the so-called eThekwini Declaration. It will be a summary of the BRICS countries’ common stance in key issues of global politics and economy. Also BRICS plans to create a Business Council, a body which will manage the countries’ investment projects.
Voice of Russia’s correspondent Polina Chernitsa reports from BRICS Summit in Durban.
Polina, tell us more about the gathering. What’s on the agenda?
Today the main talks will be held with Putin’s counterpart Jacob Zuma. Vladimir Putin has already arrived here in Durban and the talks will start approximately in 2 hours and there is a very significant agenda. The talks are expected to result in signing of 13 agreements on cooperation in such fields like energy and mining industry, space exploration, and more and more. The landmark document the two leaders are going to sign is called a Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership between Russia and South Africa.
Here, on these talks the Russian delegation will be represented by our Trade and Development Minister Andrey Belousov and Energy Industry Minister Alexander Novak, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. So, you can see that the talks will be really significant and they will cover these very significant fields.
Talking about this eThekwini Declaration, it is a roadmap. It was named after the South African part that the summit host-city Durban is located in. We still don’t know the details of this declaration, they will tell the details later, but it was announced that this declaration will give BRICS attitude to the current global politics and economics, as well as an insight into most urgent issues of multilateral cooperation. And it will just detail the agenda of BRICS for the next year and outline the new opportunities for partnership between the countries of Brazil, India, South Africa, Russia and China.
In the wake of the summit, BRICS leaders are expected to adopt the so-called eThekwini Declaration and the eThekwini Roadmap, named after the South African municipality the summit’s host city of Durban is located in.
“The declaration will give BRICS’ attitude to the current global politics and economics, as well as an insight into most urgent issues of multilateral cooperation,” Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov has said. “The roadmap will go into detail on BRICS’ agenda for the next year and outline new opportunities for bilateral partnership,” he added.
President Zuma is expected to give an opening concert to honour Vladimir Putin and other BRICS leaders, ahead of a dinner party on the same night.
On Tuesday, President Putin is also due to hold bilateral talks with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The summit will reach its climax on Wednesday, crowned by major talks that are titled BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization. The heads of five BRICS member states will attend two plenary sessions to then be joined by delegates of several African nations for an AFRICA-BRICS leaders’ forum. Further on the agenda is a business breakfast that will bring together heads of BRICS nations and their business elite.
President Putin is also set to meet with Egyptian President Muhammed Mursi. “We have been contacted over more appointments. We’ll try to settle it all on the go, so more meetings are not ruled out, including those with the Mozambique and Ethiopia leaders,” Putin’s aide said.
Proposals for global economic recovery dominate the agenda for a planned summit of BRICS on Tuesday and Wednesday.
President Vladimir Putin will represent Russia at what is the fifth summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The meeting will be held in Durban, South Africa.
"The pace of growth of the global economy doesn't represent confident post-crisis recovery. In this situation, much depends on concerted actions by the BRICS states to boost mutual trade and investment ties, and lobby for the joint agenda within the G20, especially in view of the Russian chairmanship in that forum," Putin's aide Yury Ushakov said in a briefing in Moscow.
The summit will also look at a proposal to set up a BRICS development bank. "This matter will be discussed. I hope that a basic decision will be made," Ushakov said.
The BRICS leaders would pay special attention to developing direct contacts between them, on the one hand, and their countries' business communities, on the other, and would have a meeting with business figures on the fringes of the summit.
The summit would set up a "Business Council," a body overseeing multilateral investment projects.
The summit would also take up international political issues such as the crisis in Syria, the Iranian nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "The BRICS countries stand for conflicts to be settled by political and diplomatic means and reject policies of pressure and infringement of the sovereignty of other states," Ushakov said.
The summit is expected to issue an "eThekwini Declaration" and "eThekwini Plan of Action" - eThekwini is the name of the municipality where the event will be held.
"The declaration will contain an assessment of the current global political and economic situation and reflect the general principles of the BRICS countries on key issues of multilateral cooperation. The plan of action sets concrete tasks for BRICS for the coming year and includes new promising areas of interaction," Ushakov said.
The summit would result in an agreement to co-finance green and infrastructural projects in African countries and in a declaration on the institution of a BRICS consortium of expert centers.
A BRICS Business Council will be launched during the March summit of the emerging economies in South Africa, in what is seen as a new stage of business partnership among the five nations.
The Council will serve as a tool for business cooperation among entrepreneurial circles of BRICS member states, President of the Russian Commerce Chamber Sergei Katyrin told the Voice of Russia correspondent at the ongoing Business Forum in South Africa’s Durban.
Sergei Katyrin is one of five Russia’s prominent finance officials to enter the future Business Council.
Some 900 representatives of Russian, Brazilian, Chinese, Indian and South African business elites have gathered in the South African city of Durban ahead of the BRICS summit that will kick off later today.
“The Council will help us build develop multilateral investment strategies and boost long-term business partnership,” Mr. Katyrin told VoR, adding it would focus primarily on energy and green technologies.
President Vladimir Putin is to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the corridors of the BRICS summit [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] on March 26 to discuss ways of broadening bilateral relations and the situation in Afghanistan.
Putin will pay a working visit to South Africa on March 26, where a BRICS summit will also be held. On the day of his arrival Putin will hold a bilateral meeting with Singh.
"It so happened that Putin met with the Chinese leader a few days ago. Still earlier we had received the Brazilian president and we are now going to South Africa on a working visit," Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said at a press briefing in Moscow ahead of Putin's visit to Durban.
Putin last met Singh during his visit to New Delhi in December, he said.
"This indicates that we have been maintaining intensive contacts with the BRICS leaders and that we make use of every opportunity to organize such meetings," he said.
Talks with Singh will center on further relations between the two countries "based on a special and privileged strategic partnership."
"Special accent will be put on the situation in Syria and the current developments in Afghanistan, with due account taken of the international security assistance force's pullout from Afghanistan in 2014," Ushakov said.
Russia and India have been cooperating intensively and coordinating their positions and approaches in the UN Security Council, in the G20, BRICS, the RIC triangle (Russia, India, China), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the East African Community (EAC)and other international formats. The Indian prime minister is expected to take part in a G20 summit in St. Petersburg on September 5 and 6.
Intensive contacts have been maintained between the Russian and Indian foreign ministries and other ministries and agencies. "The Indian foreign, interior, justice, and industry and trade ministers are expected to travel to Moscow in April and May," Ushakov said.
State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin is to visit India in autumn, he said.
Trade between the two countries hit $11 billion in 2012 - a record high figure. Joint projects in the energy sector, first of all nuclear, and also in the steel, jewelry and pharmaceutical sectors, are well underway, Ushakov said.