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Durban summit strengthens BRICS cooperation, partnership
2013/03/28

Source:xinhua

DURBAN, South Africa, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The just-ended fifth BRICS summit has strengthened cooperation and partnership among member states, China's assistant foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu told reporters here Wednesday.

The meeting of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, collectively known as BRICS, sent to the international community a message of unity, cooperation and win-win results, Ma said.

The summit focused on the international economic situation, global economic governance, BRICS cooperation, and cooperation between BRICS and Africa.

It was held against the backdrop of profound changes in the international situation and lingering economic uncertainties, as well as the increasing global clouts of the BRICS countries.

The BRICS countries hoped, through the summit, to strengthen cooperation in all fields, enhance coordination on major international issues and reinforce their partnership, Ma said.

FIVE ACHIEVEMENTS

The Chinese assistant foreign minister said five major achievements were made at the summit.

First, it had enabled the BRICS countries to coordinate their positions on major international issues and regional hot-spots of common interest.

BRICS countries pledged to back the United Nations's leading role in addressing global challenges and threats. They agreed that global and regional hot-spot issues must be solved via political and diplomatic means and dialogues, and in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.

That showed the BRICS countries were playing a constructive role in promoting democracy in international relations and safeguarding world peace and stability, Ma said.

Second, the summit witnessed new progress in practical cooperation among the BRICS countries.

Leaders of the five nations agreed to establish a BRICS development bank and a contingent reserve arrangement, announced the establishment of a business council and a think tank council, and unveiled an action plan on further cooperation in nearly 20 fields, including finance, economy and trade, technology, health, agriculture, and people-to-people and cultural exchange.

Such practical cooperation would fully tap the potential of BRICS cooperation, show the vitality of the BRICS countries, bring concrete benefits to the people of all member countries, and help consolidate the social and public basis for cooperation among the BRICS countries, Ma said.

Third, BRICS countries reached a new consensus on improving global economic governance.

The countries voiced support for Russia, which is currently chairing the Group of 20, in promoting coordination of macroeconomic policies, ensuring the strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy and in boosting jobs.

The BRICS countries also called for reforming the international monetary and financial systems and increasing the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries.

They noted in particular that the International Monetary Fund's quota and governance structure reform should be carried out at a faster pace, and the leadership selection of international financial institutions should be open, transparent and merit-based.

That highlighted the BRICS' positive and constructive role in bringing more confidence to the recovery of the world economy and adding momentum to global economic governance, Ma said.

Fourth, the summit decided to continue to promote global development.

The BRICS countries called for an earlier fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which, they said, should be the basis for discussing the global development agenda beyond the 2015 deadline for MDGs.

BRICS leaders stressed the importance of addressing the challenges confronting low-income countries in their development, and reaffirmed their commitments to safeguarding food and energy security and stabilizing commodity prices.

They also expressed support for the results achieved at the UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20), and reiterated the Rio Principles and political commitments made for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

All these commitments manifested the firm determination of the BRICS countries to bring benefits to the developing world and contribute to global development, Ma said.

Fifth, the summit promoted the building of a partnership between BRICS and Africa.

On the sidelines of the fifth BRICS summit, the first BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum was held under the theme, "Unlocking Africa's potential: BRICS and Africa cooperation on infrastructure."

The forum showed BRICS nations' readiness to enhance cooperation with African countries in infrastructure, to facilitate interconnections in Africa and unlock the continent's development potential, Ma said.

These positive measures to forge a partnership with African states reflected the openness and inclusiveness of BRICS cooperation, he said.

FUTURE COOPERATION

The Durban summit had again demonstrated cooperation among the BRICS countries was in tune with the current trend toward peace, development and cooperation, Ma said.

BRICS cooperation helped make the world economy more balanced, international order more equitable, global governance more efficient, and world peace more endurable, he said.

It is foreseeable BRICS cooperation would advance toward a higher level and continue to play a constructive role in driving world economic growth, improving global economic governance, and enhancing multilateralism and democracy in international relations, Ma said, adding member states were confident about their development and cooperation.

Calling on BRICS members to work together for common development, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who attended a BRICS summit for the first time, said in a keynote speech BRICS countries had come together for peace, development and win-win cooperation, with building a beautiful world as their common wish.

Therefore, the BRICS countries should strengthen cooperation on three aspects: firstly, stand firm in defending world justice and justness, safeguarding world peace and stability; secondly, vigorously press ahead with the construction of a partnership for global development, advancing common prosperity; and thirdly, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and pursue mutual benefit.

Despite being only five years old, BRICS could achieve greater success if its member states were fully confident about their development path, development prospects and cooperation with each other, Xi said.

The president also called on member states to forge closer ties through stronger partnerships, and to expand and deepen cooperation in trade and economy, finance, infrastructure and movement of people.

Xi urged facilitation of an integrated market in trade, multi-level liquidity in finance, overarching interconnections by air, land and sea in infrastructure, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

Xi's proposals won strong support from participating leaders.

BRICS AND AFRICA

At the dialogue forum with African leaders, Xi put forward a four-point proposal on further cooperation between BRICS and Africa in infrastructure.

Firstly, he said, the BRICS countries should jointly promote Africa's infrastructure construction as a priority of international cooperation for development, and help the continent achieve faster growth and create more jobs.

Xi said that, secondly, the BRICS countries should jointly participate in major African transnational projects, including those proposed by the Group of 20, the African Union and sub-regional organizations, and turn them into a driving force for deepening economic integration and improving people's livelihoods in Africa.

Thirdly, the BRICS countries should jointly enhance financial cooperation with Africa and increase investment in the continent through a multilateral development bank, he said.

The planned BRICS development bank should take into account business with Africa, Xi said, calling on the financial forum of BRICS nations to discuss ways of cooperation with Africa, including launching bilateral currency swaps, to support the continent's infrastructure construction.

Fourthly, the BRICS countries should keep sustainable development in mind while carrying out infrastructure cooperation with Africa, so that rapid economic growth would not be achieved at the expense of the environment, he said.

Xi said that, within the framework of South-South cooperation, China would pay more attention to Africa's infrastructure while conducting foreign assistance and investment and financing cooperation.

China is ready to form cooperative partnerships with African nations in transnational and trans-regional infrastructure projects, and help them with the preliminary work of promoting connectivity and resource surveys, he said.

Every year, China would train 300 infrastructure managers and technicians from Africa, Xi said, adding that infrastructure projects would take a front seat in China's 20-billion-U.S.-dollar loan commitment to Africa.

China would, via investment, financing, aid, cooperation and other means, encourage its enterprises and financial institutions to participate in the construction and management of Africa's transnational and trans-regional infrastructure projects, Xi said.

The Chinese government had promised zero-tariff treatment for 97 percent of the exports to China from the least developed nations which have diplomatic ties with China, and all related measures would be in place by 2015, said the Chinese leader.

Xi's proposals for furthering China-Africa ties were hailed by participating African leaders at the forum, who spoke highly of China's important role in boosting development on the continent.

They also expressed the willingness to work with China to lift the China-Africa strategic partnership to a new level.

 

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