The meeting’s topic is Foster Partnership for Global Development in a New Era Towards Joint Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Taking part in the BRICS+ meeting were President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, Vice President of Brazil Hamilton Mourao, President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, President of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri Yaakob, President of Senegal Macky Sall, Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama, and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed.
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Speech by the President of the Russian Federation at the BRICS+ meeting
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,
First, I would like to welcome the guests of the BRICS Summit and express gratitude to President Xi Jinping for organising this meeting in such a broad format.
We believe that it is very useful to hold BRICS+ meetings attended by the leaders of states that are interested in developing mutually beneficial cooperation with our association based on a similarity of views on current global political and economic issues and ways of dealing with them.
It is notable that the leaders of the countries who are attending our meeting today stand for developing a truly democratic multipolar world order based on the principles of equality, justice and mutual respect where global trade and finance are free from obstacles and politically driven restrictions.
I would like to point out that the importance of interaction with our partners who share our values has increased dramatically amid the current imbalances in international relations. This situation has been developing for a long time and is the inevitable result of a policy of those who advocate a so-called liberal world order towards eroding international law and undermining multilateral institutions. Seeking to preserve their domination, some countries have been working consistently to replace the existing global architecture that relies on the central role of the United Nations with a rules-based order. But it is not clear who invented these rules and what they are.
Attempts to hinder the development of the states that are unwilling to live according to somebody’s rules and the reckless use of illegal sanctions instruments, compounded by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, have aggravated the downturn in the global economy.
Global trade is deeply mired in disputes, the settlement of which is deviating increasingly further from WTO norms and principles. Our colleagues mentioned the WTO today, but we know well what turn the situation within that organisation has taken over the past years. The international monetary system is being destabilised, and industrial, logistics and investment chains are being broken.
Rapid price increases for food, energy and commodities is having a serious socioeconomic effect, especially on the development of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Colleagues and friends, I would like to stress once again: this is not the result of the past few months and by no means a consequence of Russia’s special military operation to protect Donbass.
Once again, this jump in inflation did not happen yesterday. It has been happening over the past several years as a result of the long-term, and I want to stress this, irresponsible macroeconomic policy of the G7 countries, uncontrolled money creation and accumulated unsecured debts. This process was accelerated by the pandemic when both the supply and demand for goods and services drastically dropped on a global scale.
The food market has been disrupted most severely. I said this at the recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum, and I want to say it again: they printed money, distributed it in their wealthy countries and, like a vacuum cleaner, started scooping up all the food from the global market. Only recently, the United States was a food exporter – a net exporter – but now, I think, their imports are about US$17 billion more than their exports. This is a dismal indicator for food markets around the world.
Meanwhile, the soaring cost of essential agricultural commodities such as grain has hit the developing countries and markets the hardest as this is where bread and flour are vital for the survival of most of the population.
I think it was French Queen Marie Antoinette who, looking over a crowd of starving citizens from her palace, reportedly said with indifference: “If they have no bread let them eat cake.”
This is the same cynicism that certain Western countries are now showing by destabilising the global production of agricultural products and dealing with this matter by restricting, for example, supplies of Russian and Belarusian fertilisers and impeding exports of Russian grain to world markets. Speaking of which, we are expecting a good harvest. God willing, everything will be fine and, if we supply 37 million tonnes to the world market this year, we would most likely be able to supply 50 million tonnes of grain. However, it is becoming more difficult to insure the transport that carries grain, bulk carriers, transactions under trade contracts, and so on.
At the same time, they are artificially fuelling hysterics over, say, the suspension of Ukrainian grain shipments via Black Sea ports. Meanwhile, according to American, and our, estimates, this is about 5 or 6 million tonnes of wheat plus 7 million tonnes of corn – this is something, but it does not resolve the problems in the world grain market.
But that’s not even the point. I have said publicly many times, and want to emphasise again, that Russia is not preventing the export of Ukraine’s grain from its territory; we are ready to ensure safe passage of grain ships via international waters if, of course, the Ukrainian military demines the ports and nearby waters.
In addition, we have a relevant understanding with representatives of the UN Secretariat. As before, we lack one thing – a constructive approach from the current Kiev authorities.
I would like to emphasise that Russia is a major and responsible participant in the world food market. We are certainly willing to continue fulfilling our contractual obligations on the supply of agricultural products, fertiliser, energy and other critical commodities in good faith.
I would like to note that Russia continues rendering humanitarian aid to many countries that need it. Russia recently delivered foodstuffs to Lebanon, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Sudan and others, without cost.
I would like to note again that we have every opportunity to build up practical cooperation between the BRICS countries and its partners, the countries represented here. We feel your mutual interest in maintaining close business contacts.
It is equally important for BRICS to expand cooperation with regional associations like ASEAN, the African Union, the Association of Caribbean States, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
Of course, serious potential is opening up for cooperation between our states in the context of working in the integration processes between the Eurasian Economic Union and China’s huge One Belt One Road infrastructure and trade project.
In general, we are convinced that many serious problems on the global agenda can and must be resolved only by pooling efforts, and this summit is an example of constructive work in this respect.
Thank you for your attention.