With Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov present, Foreign Ministers of the BRICS group have at a meeting called for a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine dispute and made a commitment to the “territorial integrity” of nations, according to a statement issued in New Delhi.
the ministers of the five-nation group made up of Brazil, India, China and Russia and South Africa and known as BRICS from their initials met in New York on Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s high-level meeting.
The statement issued by India’s External Affairs Ministry said: “They committed to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, stressed their commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, and supported all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of situation in Ukraine.”
While the part of the statement about “peaceful settlement” sounds anodyne, the juxtaposition of it with commitments to territorial integrity and sovereignty puts Russia in a spot.
The meeting was closed to the media and Lavrov’s reaction during the discussion could not be ascertained.
China and India have kept a degree of neutrality at the Security Council by abstaining on the resolution condemning Russia’s invasion, while Brazil voted for it.
The statement’s assertion follows meetings Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had separately in Samarkand last week with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping where the two leaders directly expressed their displeasure with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Today’s era is not an era of war. We have discussed this with you by phone several times, that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue touch the entire world,” Modi told Putin before TV cameras.
Putin admitted that Xi had “questions and concern” about Russia’s invasion.
At the BRICS ministers’ meeting chaired by Grace Pandor, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the statement from India said that “they rejected double standards in countering terrorism and extremism” and “called for an expeditious finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism”.
India has been at odds with China over its blocking of sanctions at the Security Council against Pakistan-based terrorists.
Among those against whom Beijing has stopped sanctions are Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT) Sajid Mir involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) Abdul Rauf Azhar, and Jamaat-ud-Dawah’s (JuD) Abdul Rehman Makki.
The statement said” “The Ministers exchanged views on major global and regional issues on the United Nations agenda in the political, security, economic, financial and sustainable development spheres, as well as on intra-BRICS activities.”
It said that they affirmed their commitment to “strengthening and reforming the multilateral system, especially of the UN and its principal organs”.
BRICS countries basically came together for economic and development cooperation and the statement also reflected those concerns.
The Ministers called on developed countries to provide more financing and technology transfer to developing countries to combat climate change, it said.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @arulouis)