BRICS Foreign Ministers Meet in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

The annual meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the BRICS alliance member nations has begun today in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. The meeting is one of several to be held in Russia after the nation gained the BRICS Chairmanship in early January. Representatives of four African nations — Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Mauritania — are set to engage in discussions which will take place over June 10th and 11th.

What You Need to Know:

On the sidelines of the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov engaged bilaterally with the Foreign Ministers of South Africa and Ethiopia to discuss economic cooperation, political dialogue, and enhancing the effectiveness of multilateral platforms such as the G20, BRICS, and the UN.

A statement on the Russia-South Africa meeting released by the Russian Foreign Ministry said, “Given the common understanding of the origins and causes of the crisis around Ukraine, the sides discussed further opportunities for the contribution of South Africa and a number of other countries of the global South in the search for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.”

“During the exchange of views on the Middle East issues, the sides expressed concern over the ongoing escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict zone. Some issues of the situation on the African and European continents were also considered.”

As a result of the first day of discussions, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs released a 54-point joint statement from the BRICS Foreign Ministers.

Referring back to the 2023 Johannesburg II Declaration, the Ministers emphasized their support for the comprehensive reform of the United Nations. With the declaration emphasizing BRICS’s concern “about the use of unilateral coercive measures, which are incompatible with the principles of the charter of the UN and produce negative effects, notably in the developing world.”

“We support a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more democratic, representative, effective, and efficient, and to increase the representation of developing countries in the Council’s memberships so that it can adequately respond to prevailing global challenges and support the legitimate aspirations of emerging and developing countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, including Brazil, India, and South Africa, to play a greater role in international affairs, in particular in the United Nations, including its Security Council,” the 2023 declaration said.

The joint statement also reaffirmed the Ministers’ support of the BRICS partnership’s three pillars of cooperation: politics and security, economy and finance, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

Interestingly, in the statement, the Ministers rejected attempts to link security with the climate change agenda, despite there being evidence, particularly in the Sahel region, of climate change acting as a driving factor of terrorism.

The statement also touched on the Ministers’ outlooks on the world’s current conflicts.

“The Ministers expressed their concern about ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world. They reiterated their commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes through diplomacy, inclusive dialogue, and consultations in a coordinated and cooperative manner and supported all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises. The Ministers reiterated the need for full respect for international humanitarian law in conflict situations and the provision of humanitarian aid in accordance with the basic principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence established in UNGA resolution 46/182.”

“The Ministers reaffirmed their support for Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations and reiterated their unwavering commitment to the vision of the two-state solution based on international law, including relevant UNSC and UNGA resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative that includes the establishment of a sovereign, independent, and viable State of Palestine in line with internationally recognized borders of June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and security with Israel.”

The statement then outlined the Ministers’ support for Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations and in support of the two-state solution.

Additionally, the support of ‘African solutions to African problems’ was also reiterated.

So, What Now?:

The annual BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting sets the stage for the 16th BRICS summit to take place in October in the Russian city of Kazan. In January, Russia took on the BRICS chairmanship under the theme “strengthening multilateralism for just global development and security.”

Since then, Russia has deployed Wagner mercenaries to bolster the military regimes of several nations in West Africa, drumming up questions around the alliance’s commitment to the statement ‘African solutions to African problems.’

Nonetheless, the loss of parliamentary majority by South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has left the future of the country’s foreign affairs murky, as the Democratic Alliance, the country’s second-largest political party, is relatively pro-Western.

Despite this, the BRICS alliance has announced in recent months a growing list of nations pushing for membership, including Sri Lanka and Pakistan, as the alliance acts as a counterweight to Western forums.

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.


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