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Lavrov: US Crossing Red Lines by Threatening Other Countries Not to Work With Russia

By Petr Beryshnikov – Sputnik – 23.01.2023

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in this year’s BRICS host state, South Africa, on Monday morning to discuss bilateral relations as well as coopeation within the BRICS.

Western countries, namely the US and the UK, are crossing all red lines by exerting pressure on the states that cooperate with Russia, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a joint press conference with his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor after their meeting in Pretoria on Monday.

“[The US] is publicly saying that those who cooperate with Russia will regret it,” he said, anwsering to Sputnik’s question at the press conference. “Through threats and pressure, the US, and the British too, are crossing all red lines.”

Lavrov stressed that the West undermines the democratic principles in terms of international relations, noting that the US, as well as the EU appeal to democracy only when it suits their interests.

Answering the reporters’ questions, the minister also drew attention to the issues concerning the export of Russian grain and fertilizers in the context of the world food crisis and anti-Russian sanctions. He noted that although such exports are not prohibited by the Western sanctions, the latter create logistical, financial and freightage problems. Lavrov stressed that Russia is ready for international cooperation to overcome these issues – among others, noted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – but the West does not seem to be willing to participate.

“As for Russian fertilizers, grain, no efforts by the UN helped the European Union and the United States remove obstacles to our exports,” he said.

He also noted that only 20,000 of 280 thousand tonnes of fertilizers, which Russia agreed to provide to the poorest states for free, left the European ports.

“It’s been about half a year since President Putin drew the attention of the world community to this initiative. During this time, out of 280,000 tons, only 20,000 tons were sent from the Netherlands to Malawi – well, […] such an agreement was reached three months ago, and the cargo itself was transported only very recently,” he underlined.

According to Lavrov, less than 10% of grain exported under the so-called Black Sea grain deal goes to the poorest countries, with almost a half being directed to the EU and roughly the same amount to prosperous developing countries.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, aslo known as the “grain deal”, refers to an agreement between Russia and Ukraine with the participation of Turkey and the UN. The goal of the initiative is to help tackling the world food crisis by allowing grain exports from the Black Sea ports, which were initially blocked during the conflict in Ukraine.

Talking about the food crisis, the minister also responded to claims made by the US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said that Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and “weaponization of food has exacerbated food insecurity and caused untold suffering”.

According to Lavrov, it is “hard to comment” on Yellen’s statements, which he called a “slogan” and cited UN data indicating that the world food crisis started before the special military operation in Ukraine and was caused by “uncontrolled emission of money” in the West as well as “politicized and uncompromising transition to so-called green economy”.

Yellen had made her statements during her January African tour, which is widely seen as part of “Biden’s big push” into Africa in an effort to counter Chinese and Russian influence on the continent.

Talking about the West’s pressure on African countries, Lavrov also touched the matter of western criticism of the Russia-China-South Africa naval drills scheduled to take place in February.

“As for naval exercises, I think there is nothing even to comment on. Three sovereign countries conduct exercises without violating any norms of international law. I don’t understand how they can cause a ‘mixed’ reaction,” Lavrov told reporters, adding: “US colleagues believe that only they can conduct exercises around the world. Now they are actively engaged in naval exercises within the framework of the Indo-Pacific strategies around China, in the South China Sea, in the Taiwan Strait, and this does not cause any mixed reaction from anyone,” the diplomat noted.

Thandi Modise, South Africa’s minister of defense, earlier said that Russia could be Africa’s key partner in terms of military cooperation. She also recently stated that the US, in its turn, “threatens Africa, not just South Africa, of having anything that is even smelling of Russia”.

In her turn, South Africa’s foreign minister stressed the importance of the exercises for her state, saying that South Africa’s military conducts drills “as part of agreements with many countries worldwide”. Naledi Pandor said that in contrast to the current criticism of the three-lateral exercises, “no-one asked questions” when South Africa took part in drills with the US or France.

“These are all part of exercises we undertake […] to be able to respond to a range of situations, including disaster management, which our military often plays a role in addressing. So, I just think it’s important that we regard all countries as sovereign nations and not stop doing so when it suits us,” she underlined.

According to Lavrov, Russia is actively developing military cooperation with its BRICS partners such as China, South Africa and India, noting that this cooperation is “nothing new”. He said that the exercises are “transparent” and called for the western states to respect their foreign counterparts.

“If you respect other countries, let them pick their sides,” the minister said, concluding: “We simply advocate for each country to have its own rights in the international system, as stipulated by the UN Charter.”

On Monday, Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in South Africa, which became the first destination for him during his African tour.

In summer 2022, Sergey Lavrov conducted a major African tour, visiting the Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia and Egypt. In September 2022, he also held talks with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Russia and the South African Republic established their bilateral diplomatic relations in 1992. Being two key nations of the BRICS group, which also encompasses Brazil, India and China, Moscow and Pretoria promoted their bilateral relations to the level of the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2013.

South Africa is Russia’s key partner in scientific and educational spheres and one of the key trade partners on the African continent along with Egypt and Algeria. The two sides have also been actively promoting relations in the military dimension as well as in other fields. Moscow and Pretoria share common views on the core principles of the world order, coordinating their positions and actions by means of regular bilateral diplomatic dialogue, at the United Nations, as well as within such formats as BRICS and G20.

The country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, first visited Russia in 2019, when he participated in the first Russia-Africa summit held in Sochi. Pretoria is also expected to participate in the second Russia-Africa summit which will be held in Saint Petersburg in July.

January 23, 2023 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Xi to visit Saudi Arabia as Prince Salman seeks BRICS membership

By Ahmed Adel | November 23, 2022

The upcoming visit of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia, scheduled for December and prepared for a year, shows that the Gulf kingdom has sidelined American interests for its own and taken the first step towards de-dollarization. According to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, strengthening trade ties and regional security will be prioritised during Xi’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia.

Jubeir emphasized that meetings between Chinese and Saudi leaders are “natural” and recalled that China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trade partner. Sources familiar with the organisation of Xi’s visit confirmed that it has been prepared for a year and that the Chinese leader will arrive in the second half of December to attend the China-Gulf Summit.

Xi’s visit to Saudi Arabia is a continuation of a wider process stimulated by BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in which China and Russia are key countries. BRICS and the SCO are increasingly attractive organisations for many countries as a framework in which development and cooperation is possible without blackmail and pressure.

Saudi Arabia has fundamentally changed its policy from one of complete submission to the interests of the US to now putting its own national interests first. This does not mean that the Saudis will break relations with the US, but it is a huge difference when the country puts its own interests first compared to when it is subordinated to the interests of Washington.

Riyadh pursues much better and closer cooperation with China as it is a continuation of the process in becoming an independent state and not subservient to Washington. In these processes, by the nature of things, since they are complementary economies, avoiding the dollar as a means of payment is a completely logical plan as it removes the risk of great damage if American sanctions are ever imposed.

On the one hand, BRICS, independently of Saudi Arabia, is operationally working to create a concept that would reduce the importance and influence of the dollar in the world economy. More precisely, such an achievement would reduce the influence of the dollar, which is effectively the basis of US foreign policy.

It is also for this reason that Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a potential new member of the BRICS bloc.

Within that, a whole series of countries in bilateral cooperation, which is now expected from China and Saudi Arabia, agree on payments in domestic currencies as the first step in the process of de-dollarizing the world economy. It is also for this reason why the visit of Xi to Saudi Arabia follows from everything that has already happened and should not be considered a surprise.

However, it is too early to say whether China will overtake the US as Saudi Arabia’s main partner, even despite the fiasco that was President Joe Biden’s visit to the Gulf kingdom. This is especially the case because Saudi Arabia has based its defence on American weapons and has immense financial ties with the US.

There will definitely be more significant Sino-Saudi cooperation and the Arab kingdom itself will attempt to detach from the dollar. However, the truth is that de-dollarization is a process that will take many years. None-the-less, the Saudi reduction in cooperation with the US will inevitably occur.

It is recalled that South African President Cyril Ramposa said during his visit to Riyadh in October that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed Saudi Arabia’s desire to join BRICS. Discussions on the expansion of the BRICS bloc are scheduled to take place in South Africa when it takes over the presidency in 2023.

Saudi Arabia’s separation from the West has only accelerated under the Biden presidency. Biden described Saudi Arabia as a pariah state due to Prince Salman’s alleged involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist. However, the US President changed his outlook and rhetoric towards the Arab country after coming to power.

As BRICS represents more than 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP, with the group set to have bolstered global influence if it expands, Saudi Arabia is interested in gaining further independence by joining the bloc. Joining the bloc also means closer relations with China, something that Saudi Arabia is now pursuing despite Western criticism.

Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Algeria Applies for BRICS Membership

Samizdat – 07.11.2022

“Algeria [has] made an official application to join BRICS,” media reported, citing Foreign Ministry special envoy Leila Zerrouki.

The president of the North African nation previously said that Algeria may be interested in joining the bloc, adding that it largely meets the conditions for entering BRICS.

This comes after Iran and Argentina earlier this year also announced they were seeking membership in the group. Moreover, BRICS International Forum President Purnima Anand noted that Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia may “very soon” follow them in applying.

BRICS is an informal association of major developing economies that was formed in 2006 to enhance cooperation between the member nations and elaborate common approaches to global economic challenges. The countries in the bloc represent around 40 percent of the global population and around a quarter of the world’s GDP.

November 7, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

US is recalibrating the power dynamic in East Mediterranean. Can South Asia be far behind?

File Photo
BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | OCTOBER 2, 2022 

A mild flutter ensued after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent meeting with his Turkiye counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York on September 21 when it came to be known that Cyprus figured in their discussion. Jaishankar highlighted it in a tweet 

The Indian media instinctively related this to Turkish President Recep Erdogan making a one-line reference to the Kashmir issue earlier that day in his address to the UN GA. But Jaishankar being a scholar-diplomat, would know that Cyprus issue is in the news cycle and the new cold war conditions breathe fresh life into it, as tensions mount in the Turkish-Greek rivalry,  which often draws comparison with the India-Pakistan animosity, stemming from another historical “Partition” — under the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) that ended the Ottoman Empire. 

The beauty about peace treaties is that they have no ‘expiration date’ but the Treaty of Lausanne was signed for a period of a hundred years between Turkiye on one side and Britain, France, Italy, Greece, and their allies on the other. The approaching date heightens the existential predicament at the heart of Turkiye’s foreign policy. 

The stunning reality is that by 24th July 2023, Turkey’s modern borders become “obsolete”. The secret articles of the 1923 Treaty, signed by Turkish and British diplomats, provide for a chain of strange happenings — British troops will reoccupy the forts overlooking the Bosphorus; the Greek Orthodox Patriarch will resurrect a Byzantine mini state within Istanbul’s city walls; and Turkey will finally be able to tap the forbidden vast energy resources of the East Mediterranean (and, perhaps, regain Western Thrace, a province of Greece.) 

Of course, none of that can happen and they remain conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, the “end-of-Lausanne” syndrome remains a foundational myth and weaves neatly into the historical revisionism that Ataturk should have got a much better deal from the Western powers. 

All this goes to underline the magnitude of the current massively underestimated drama, of which Cyprus is at the epicentre. Suffice to say, Turkey’s geometrically growing rift with Greece and Cyprus over the offshore hydrocarbon reserves and naval borders must be properly understood in terms of the big picture.

Turkiye’s ruling elite believe that Turkey was forced to sign the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 and the “Treaty of Lausanne” in 1923 and thereby concede vast tracts of land under its domain. Erdogan rejects any understanding of history that takes 1919 as the start of the 1,000-year history of his great nation and civilisation. “Whoever leaves out our last 200 years, even 600 years together with its victories and defeats, and jumps directly from old Turkish history to the Republic, is an enemy of our nation and state,” he once stated. 

The international community has begun to pay attention as Turkiye celebrates its centenary next year, which also happens to be an election year for Erdogan. In a typical first shot, the US State Department announced on September 16 — just five days before Jaishankar met Cavusoglu — that Washington is lifting defence trade restrictions on the Greek Cypriot administration for the 2023 fiscal year. 

Spokesman Ned Price said, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken determined and certified to Congress that the Republic of Cyprus has met the necessary conditions under relevant legislation to allow the approval of exports, re-exports, and transfers of defence articles.” 

The US move comes against the backdrop of a spate of recent arms deals by Cyprus and Greece, including a deal to purchase attack helicopters from France and efforts to procure missile and long-range radar systems. Turkiye called on the US “to reconsider this decision and to pursue a balanced policy towards the two sides on the Island.” It has since announced a beefing up of its military presence in Northern Cyprus.  

To be sure, the unilateral US move also means indirect support for the maritime claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, which Turkiye, with the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, rejects as excessive and violates its sovereign rights and that of Turkish Cypriots. 

Whether these developments figured in Jaishankar’s discussion with Cavusoglu is unclear, but curiously, India too is currently grappling with a similar US decision to offer a $450 million military package to Pakistan to upgrade its nuclear-capable F-16 aircraft. 

Indeed, the US-Turkey-Cyprus triangle has some striking similarities with the US-India-Pakistan triangle. In both cases, the Biden administration is dealing with friendly pro-US governments in Nicosia and Islamabad but is discernibly unhappy with the nationalist credo of the leaderships in Ankara and New Delhi. 

Washington is annoyed that the governments in Ankara and New Delhi preserve their strategic autonomy. Most important, the US’ attempt to isolate Russia weakening due to the refusal by Turkiye and India to impose sanctions against Moscow. 

The US is worried that India and Turkiye, two influential regional powers, pursue foreign policies promoting multipolarity in the international system, which undermines US’ global hegemony. Above all,  it is an eyesore for Washington that Erdogan and Prime Minister Modi enjoy warm trustful personal interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The photo beamed from Samarkand during the recent SCO summit showing Erdogan arm in arm with Putin must have infuriated President Biden. Modi too displayed a rare moment of surging emotions when he told Putin at Samarkand on September 16, 

“The relationship between India and Russia has deepened manifold. We also value this relationship because we have been such friends who have been with each other every moment for the last several decades and the whole world also knows how Russia’s relationship with India has been and how India’s relationship with Russia has been and therefore the world also knows that it is an unbreakable friendship. Personally speaking, in a way, the journey for both of us started at the same time. I first met you in 2001, when you were working as the head of the government and I had started working as head of the state government. Today, it has been 22 years, our friendship is constantly growing, we are constantly working together for the betterment of this region, for the well-being of the people. Today, at the SCO Summit, I am very grateful to you for all the feelings that you have expressed for India.” 

Amazingly, the western media censored this stirring passage in its reports on the Modi-Putin meeting! 

Notably, following the meeting between Modi and Erdogan in Samarkand on Sept. 16, a commentary by the state-owned TRT titled Turkiye-India ties have a bright future ahead signalled the Erdogan government’s interest to move forward in relations with India. 

India’s ties with Turkiye deserve to be prioritised, as that country is inching toward BRICS and the SCO and is destined to be a serious player in the emerging multipolar world order. Symptomatic of the shift in tectonic plates is the recent report that Russia might launch direct flights between Moscow and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a state supported and recognised only by Ankara. (Incidentally, one “pre-condition” set by the Biden administration to resume military aid to Cyprus was that Nicosia should roll back its relations with Moscow!)  

Without doubt, the US and the EU are recalibrating the power dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean by building up the Cyprus-Greece axis and sending a warning to Turkiye to know its place. In geopolitical terms, this is another way of welcoming Cyprus into NATO. Thus, it becomes part of the new cold war. 

Can South Asia’s future be any different? Turkiye has so many advantages over India, having been a longstanding cold-war era ally of the US. It hosts Incirlik Air Base, one of the US’ major strategically located military bases. Kurecik Radar Station partners with the US Air Force and Navy in a mission related to missile interception and defence. Turkey is a NATO power which is irreplaceable in the alliance’s southern tier. Turkey controls the Bosphorus Straits under the Montreux Convention (1936).

Yet, the US is unwilling to have a relationship of mutual interest and mutual respect with Turkiye. Pentagon is openly aligned with the Kurdish separatists. The Obama administration made a failed coup attempt to overthrow Erdogan. 

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Algeria to discuss joining BRICS with Russia

The BRICS bloc represents an alternative to western economic hegemony, and can serve as a powerful tool to bypass economic sanctions

The Cradle | September 11, 2022

According to media reports on 8 September, the newly appointed Russian ambassador to Algeria, Valeryan Shuvayev, announced that the North African country’s president, Abdelmajid Tebboune, will likely visit Moscow before the end of the year to discuss mutual cooperation between the two countries.

Tebboune’s potential visit will center around Algeria’s desire to join the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) group of emerging economies.

The BRICS group of nations represents the world’s most prominent economies outside of the western hemisphere.

In his first media appearance outside of the Russian embassy in Algeria, Shuvayev stated that President Tebboune sent a letter to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin regarding his country’s desire to join BRICS.

In May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Algeria and met with President Tebboune, as well as his Algerian counterpart, Ramtane Lamamra, where they discussed a boost in relations between both countries, and the intention to sign a number of agreements in the near future that will further enhance the relationship between Moscow and Algiers.

Two months later, in late July, Tebboune referred to the BRICS group as a significant “economic and political power” which is of interest to the North African state and added that his country holds the necessary criteria to be included into the organization.

In mid-August, former Algerian Industry Minister, Ferhat Ait Ali, said during an interview: “This bloc seeks to attract countries that are neither poor nor very rich, but rather countries that [can serve as an] alternative to Western hegemony.”

The BRICS group “includes two historical allies and partners for Algeria to trust in… namely China and Russia, and other partners who have no problem in the progress of our economic system in parallel with theirs,” the former Algerian minister added.

Algeria and Russia have historically enjoyed a smooth relationship. The Soviet Union was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Algeria following its independence from French colonial occupation in 1962.

The BRICS group of emerging economies represents a beneficial alternative to the dominant US and western-led economic system, especially for countries negatively affected by western sanctions.

In June, the Islamic Republic of Iran submitted an application to become a member of the BRICS group. Tehran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said at the time that the bloc’s member countries represent 30 percent of the world’s GDP and 40 percent of the global population.

September 11, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

India, BRICS in cold war conditions

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | JULY 2, 2022 

The phone conversation on Friday between Prime Minister Modi and Russian President Putin conveyed a big signal, coming on the morrow of the release of the new Strategic Concept by NATO which called Russia the alliance’s “most significant and direct threat.” The readouts from Moscow and New Delhi both highlighted the two leaderships’ determination to carry forward the momentum of economic cooperation despite the western sanctions against Russia. (here and here) 

Ironically, the West’s “sanctions from hell” have given a big stimulus to India-Russia bilateral trade, giving it a dynamism that one never suspected would be recaptured in the post-Soviet era. 

Friday’s call was agreed upon in the sidelines of the BRICS summit (June 23-24). Curiously,  it has come at a time when the Western powers have stepped up their efforts to create discord among the BRICS member countries, and brainwash India, in particular, to join their bandwagon in the new Cold War conditions. India is of course cherrypicking. 

But that is understandable at a time when the economy is in “stagflation.” India’s relationship with Russia was the leitmotif of Modi’s visit to Japan in April and three visits to Europe in May as well as his two meetings with US President Biden during this period. In the West’s calculus, China and India are giving what analysts would call “strategic depth” to Russia, which nullifies its frantic efforts to “erase” Russia. Interestingly, the western attempts to create paranoia in the Indian mind about the close ties between Russia and China are no longer having the desired effect of Delhi becoming wary of Russia’s intentions. India sees, on the contrary, great opportunities to tap into Russia’s tilt to Asia-Pacific region for economic partnerships. 

Without doubt, India is “balancing” between Washington and Moscow and BRICS summit was a great occasion to monitor that trapeze act. An unabashedly pro-western internet paper from Delhi had predicted that Modi would act as a vigilante for US President Biden, blocking any BRICS statement critical of the US. Whether that was true or not, Modi made a rather anodyne speech at the BRICS summit. 

On the other hand, Putin had stated in his speech at the summit that “Considering the complexity of the challenges and threats the international community is facing, and the fact that they transcend borders, we need to come up with collective solutions. BRICS can make a meaningful contribution to these efforts.” 

Putin added, “We are confident that today, as never before, the world needs the BRICS countries’ leadership in defining a unifying and positive course for forming a truly multipolar system of interstate relations… we can count on support from many states in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which are seeking to pursue an independent policy.” 

In his speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping made an even more direct appeal to the BRICS partners: “Our world today is overshadowed by the dark clouds of Cold War mentality and power politics and beset by constantly emerging traditional and non-traditional security threats. Some countries attempt to expand military alliances to seek absolute security, stoke bloc-based confrontation by coercing other countries into picking sides and pursue unilateral dominance at the expense of others’ rights and interests. If such dangerous trends are allowed to continue, the world will witness even more turbulence and insecurity.

“It is important that BRICS countries support each other on issues concerning core interests, practice true multilateralism, safeguard justice, fairness and solidarity and reject hegemony, bullying and division.” 

Frankly, no matter the impressive-looking XIV BRICS Summit Beijing Declaration, the fact remains that the grouping is performing far below its actual potential and one principal reason for this is India’s zero-sum mindset regarding China, which makes it difficult for it to work with China collectively in any regional forum. 

However, any apprehension in the Indian mind that China would “dominate” BRICS is unwarranted. Russia undoubtedly occupies a special place in the structure of the BRICS. In fact, BRICS was Moscow’s brainchild and Russia was responsible for launching the format. The first ministerial meeting (in the BRIC format) took place at the suggestion of Putin in September 2006, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York. Thus, the idea of creating BRICS matured in Russia. 

Second, BRICS is a “de-ideologised” format. It shows no animus against America although it challenges western hegemony of the international political and economic order. The very fact that the Manmohan Singh government welcomed Putin’s BRIC initiative at a most sensitive juncture when India’s negotiations for a nuclear deal with the US (with eye on Washington’s embargo on technology transfer) speaks for itself. 

Moscow conceived the BRICS concept for the strengthening of the formation of a multipolar system of international relations and the growth of economic cooperation — and it has indeed contributed to the birth of a new economic system, based on the equal access of countries to financing and sales markets, a combination of state planning and market economy. 

India has a problem to appreciate that the BRICS paradigm does not lie in expanding the capabilities or ambitions of the group’s member countries, but in fostering a qualitative change in the economic development model of the Global South. India’s dog-in-the-manger attitude — sulking and politicising the forum with extraneous issues (primarily to embarrass China) — doesn’t make sense. 

Unlike India, China takes BRICS seriously. The Chinese initiative to create a BRICS Vaccine Centre has been under development and the implementation of this project amid the current conditions can be a significant achievement that will bolster the entire format of the association. Ideally, India should cooperate with the project instead of teaming up with its QUAD partners which has turned out to be a wild goose chase.  

Again, industrial innovation is slated to be a priority for China’s BRICS Presidency in 2022. Expectations are high that during its presidency, China will come up with a number of breakthrough initiatives. Clearly, now that the construction of the BRICS’ New Development Bank headquarters in Shanghai has finished, new proposals are expected from China on the development of its operations, including possibly an expansion of the number of shareholders of the bank.

Of course, China will promote its own projects, including Belt and Road initiative. But then, China is also putting into the projects the most financial resources. It is high time for India to have a serious reassessment of values within the BRICS framework, and the changing internal balance of power in the grouping in the new Cold War conditions.

BRICS is at the crossroads and this realisation has propelled the concept of a “BRICS+” format to the centerstage of discussions. China’s BRICS chairmanship 2022 witnessed the launch of the extended BRICS+ meeting at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Participants included Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Argentina, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Thailand. 

During the ministerial, China also announced plans to open up the possibility of developing countries joining the core BRICS grouping. Argentina and Iran have been mentioned as candidates for BRICS expansion. Be that as it may, “BRICS+” is certain to be on the agenda of global governance in times to come. 

July 2, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran and Argentina apply to join BRICS

Samizdat | June 27, 2022

The Islamic Republic of Iran has officially submitted its application to join the group of five emerging economies made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the foreign ministry in Tehran announced on Monday. The move comes after the Iranian president addressed the BRICS summit last week.

While BRICS is not a treaty bloc, it has a “very creative mechanism with broad aspects,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday, according to the Tasnim news agency. He added that Tehran has already had “a series of consultations” with BRICS about the application.

Iran’s membership would “add value” for everyone involved, said Khatibzadeh, noting that BRICS members account for up to 30% of the world’s GDP and 40% of the global population.

On Friday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addressed the BRICS virtual summit hosted by China, and expressed Tehran’s readiness to share its capabilities and potentials with the group.

Argentina has also applied to join BRICS. President Alberto Fernandez on Friday urged the creation of cooperation mechanisms that could represent the alternative to ostensibly private institutions run by – and in the interest of – the West.

During the session on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the five-member group was working on setting up a new global reserve currency “based on a basket of currencies of our countries.”

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Argentina Requests BRICS Membership

Samizdat – 24.06.2022

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández requested BRICS membership for his country during the 14th summit of the international organization, which the Argentinian leader attended among other high-ranking guests.

“We aspire to be a full member of this group of nations that already represents 42% of the world’s population and 24% of the global gross product”, the president said.

Fernández noted that his country could supplement the union of five countries as a reliable supplier of food, as well as a recognized player in the field of biotechnology and logistics. He further stressed Argentina’s ability to train specialists in various fields, as well as provide various services on the international scale.

The president expressed an eagerness for his country to join the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) during its 14th summit, which is taking place in a videoconference format this year. It formally kicked off on June 22 and has continued through June 24.

Its members meet to discuss acute political and economic trends and mildly coordinate their own political and economic policies. They also discussed how to jointly navigate the currents of global trade and exercise their considerable influence (24% of global GDP) to change them.

June 24, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

BRICS nations urge nuclear disarmament

Samizdat | June 23, 2022

The member states of BRICS called for “a world free of nuclear weapons” in a joint declaration adopted on Thursday.

“We reaffirm our commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons and stress our strong commitment to nuclear disarmament and our support to the work on this subject during the session of 2022 of the Conference on Disarmament,” the declaration reads.

The group also lauded a joint statement by the permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5) – China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US – affirming that a “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” The major nuclear powers managed to show a rare display of unity earlier this year.

Apart from that, the BRICS resolution rallied support towards “negotiations in bilateral and multilateral formats to resolve all issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula, including its complete denuclearization.” The group also urged to “resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful and diplomatic means.”

The BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – has convened for its 14th summit, hosted by China, which currently holds the rotating presidency within the group. The BRICS leaders held a meeting on Thursday via a video link.

June 23, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

From Hostility to Warmness: Why has Brazilian President Changed his Aggressive Anti-China Actions?

By Paul Antonopoulos | October 8, 2019

In an interview with DW Brasil, former Brazilian ambassador to Beijing, Marcos Caramuru, revealed the great interest Chinese companies have in potential infrastructure work in Brazil. Even with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro showing initial hostility towards China during his 2018 election campaign, his opinion appears to have changed given the huge sums involved in bilateral relations and the opportunities the Asian country can provide the economic struggling Latin American Giant.

Bolsonaro is commonly known as the ‘Tropical Trump’ for his open admiration of the U.S. President and his shared ideas and beliefs. Therefore, it was unsurprising that he said “The Chinese are not buying in Brazil… They are buying Brazil,” in the pre-election campaign.

Global Times speculated that “it’s inconceivable the new Bolsonaro government would give up on the Chinese market.” It also left a note of caution for the Brazilian leader who made another major antagonism towards China: “His trip to Taiwan during the presidential campaign caught the ire of Beijing. If he continues to disregard the basic principle over Taiwan after taking office, it will apparently cost Brazil a great deal … The Chinese island won’t bring any more benefits to Brazil, which Bolsonaro and his team must be aware of.”

Marcus Vinicius Freitas, a visiting professor at the China Foreign University in Beijing, explained that: “When the Chinese look at Brazil they actually see an amusement park where everything still needs to be done.” His assessment is in reference to the huge developmental and infrastructural opportunities that Brazil has, with many sectors remaining underdeveloped despite the domineering position Brazil has over the wider Latin American region. “There is no doubt that China has a menu of options for Brazil,” he added, citing Chinese technologies in road, subway, rail, viaduct and airport construction that could be of interest to Brazil.

There are also additional opportunities from agribusiness to commodities, the most attractive sector for Chinese capital is infrastructure and major works, especially in the area of ​​gas, oil, renewable energy which will ensure growth on a sustainable and significant basis for the Brazilian economy.

However, despite the significant economic relationship between the two countries and the opportunities China can provide Brazil, it had not stopped Bolsonaro from aggravating Beijing. Therefore, it would be assumed that Bolsonaro would submit to Trump’s every demand in the midst of the U.S. president’s trade war with China. However, this has proven not to be the case with Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourão saying in June that his country does not plan to ban Huawei from providing 5G equipment to telecoms in his country, signalling that Bolsonaro has said one thing during the election campaign, but acted in another way while president.

This would suggest that Bolsonaro’s government is following a different path than initially anticipated and the Brazilian president is not a complete U.S. puppet as often said by his critics. Although Trump told Bolsonaro during the latter’s visit to the White House earlier this year that Huawei was a security threat, the Brazilian Vice President emphasized that Brazil has no reason to distrust Huawei and that his country needs the Chinese technology to help its continued development.

As Beijing has been calling for a resolution to the Trump-initiated trade war, China’s ambassador to Brazil, Yang Wanming, accused the United States of bullying and lobbying its trading partners, affecting the entire global economy. He explains that the U.S. ruined market confidence, increased the risk of global recession and endangered emerging economies like Brazil.

And in this scenario, it would be important for Brasilia and Beijing to defend international cooperation and multilateralism. China’s GDP grew by ‘only’ 6.2% in the second quarter of 2019, which is the lowest economic growth recorded since 1992. This so-called economic ‘slowdown’ has served as a successful bait to trigger Western media.

As a result, Trump declared that his tariff war with China was working and said his protectionist measures had led to the exodus of companies from the Asian giant. However, if the measures were so successful Trump would not continue to threaten his partners from trading with China. The Bolsonaro government has seen that in this situation, siding with the U.S. is not in its interests.

Although Bolsonaro will continue to take on a very pro-Trump stance in Latin American affairs, especially against Cuba and Venezuela, he has demonstrated that he is unwilling to embroil Brazil in international issues besides those relating to Israel, serving the interests of the powerful Christian Evangelical lobby in the South American country.

In fact, an argument can be made that Brazil benefits from the ongoing trade war between the two Great Powers. China has continually been placing large orders of Brazilian soybeans, choosing the South American country to fill the supply gap after stopping U.S. purchases. Chinese buyers are increasingly looking for Brazilian soybeans.

China halted U.S. soybean imports as tensions between Beijing and Washington increased and turned to Brazil. For now, Brazil has been able to respond to China’s demand, but its supply is running low and Beijing is at risk of failing to meet its needs. With any end to the trade war, it is unlikely that China will revert and make the U.S. its most important soy purchaser, providing an opportunity for Brazil to consolidate its own position.

Whether it was through a sudden realization, or whether it was from internal pressures from Brazil’s powerful agricultural industry and other important advisers, Bolsonaro has certainly done a 180 towards his China rhetoric. With the status of Brazil’s role in BRICS questioned by experts last year because of Bolsonaro’s initial hostility towards China and his vivid support for Trump, his Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo has fully embraced his country’s chairmanship of the organization. This demonstrates that no matter the motivating reason, Bolsonaro has certainly changed his China policy from hostility to openness and welcomeness as the Asian country can drastically improve Brazil’s economic situation.

Paul Antonopoulos is the director of the Multipolarity research centre.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , | 2 Comments

Russia & China could set international gold price based on physical gold trading

RT | December 3, 2017

Since Russia, China, India, Brazil & South Africa are all either large producers or consumers of gold, or both, it is highly likely that the BRICS bloc they constitute could focus its cross-border gold trading network on trading physical gold.

Gold pricing benchmarks from such a system would be based on physical gold transactions, which is a departure from the way the international gold price is currently established.

Such a system would also be a threat to “gold” trading markets in London and New York. The London Over-the-Counter (OTC) and the New York COMEX futures exchange currently set the international gold price.

OTC and COMEX are really trading synthetic derivatives on gold, and are completely detached from the physical gold market. In London, the derivative is fractionally-backed unallocated gold positions which are predominantly cash-settled. In New York the derivative is exchange-traded gold future contracts which are predominantly cash-settled and backed by very little real gold.

The major gold producers Russia, China and other BRICS nations could change the way the international gold prices are set currently – in a synthetic trading environment which has very little to do with the physical gold market.

BRICS cooperation in the gold market was first unveiled in April by the First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Central Bank, Sergey Shevtsov, during a visit to China.

“We (the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the People’s Bank of China) discussed gold trading,” he said. “The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are major economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of the precious metal. In China, gold is traded in Shanghai, and in Russia in Moscow. Our idea is to create a link between these cities so as to intensify gold trading between our markets.”

December 2, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , | 2 Comments