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I am pleased to be with you here at our new meeting in the hospitable land of South Africa. First of all, I would like say a few words of gratitude to South Africa’s Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu for the hospitality and excellent organisation of our work.
It is profoundly symbolic, as you just said, that the South African Republic's Chairmanship of BRICS is also the year of the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. The great son of the South African people devoted his entire life to the struggle against apartheid and rightfully became the pivotal figure in your country’s national reconciliation. He was a great friend of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation.
The legacy of the wise Madiba and the principles he advocated – equality, honesty and justice – are dear to people not only in Africa, but worldwide. These are also the principles and values that the BRICS stands for when working to establish an equitable and fair system of international relations.
The uniqueness of our association lies in our ability to build genuine partner relations between different parts of the world and continents. BRICS is one of the few international institutions aimed at strengthening stability, trust and predictability at the global level. We promote a positive agenda in global affairs, stick to searching for compromise based on non-ideological approaches, on multilateralism and teamwork. We are ready to jointly respond to threats that are common for humanity – be it terrorism, drug trafficking, climate change or new challenges to cybersecurity.
The five nations firmly uphold the basic principles of the UN Charter, above all, the sovereign equality of states and non-interference in their internal affairs. They are committed to the principles of inpisible security in all aspects, using collective methods of settling crises by political and diplomatic means and practicing multilateralism. They reject armed interventions, unilateral economic measures of coercion, protectionism and unfair competition. We are unanimous or close in our assessments of key global challenges, and we fully agree on the need to resist attempts to revise the results of WWII, to glorify Nazis, or to treat the victors and war criminals equally.
It is gratifying that our full-format meetings have grown into an annual tradition, the same as the September meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Today we have the opportunity, before the BRICS summit on 25-27 July in Johannesburg, to compare our approaches and prepare the documents that will be submitted for the heads’ of state consideration. Our joint statement for the media today should also contribute to the results of the Johannesburg summit.
We will certainly review the development of strategic partnership within the BRICS in all key areas – political, economic and humanitarian. I would like to welcome the initiative of the South African Chairmanship to focus on several important issues – making use of the achievements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the fight against terrorism, the joint development of vaccines, the coordination of approaches to preparing and conducting peacekeeping operations.
We count on support for Russia’s proposal, approved by the leaders of our countries last year, to draft a five-party agreement on international information security at today's meeting and then at the summit in Johannesburg.
I would also like to repeat that we are interested in promoting initiatives to create the Energy Research Platform and the Women's Business Alliance in the BRICS. At a later stage, we could also consider a Women's Diplomatic Alliance, taking into account our collective work.
Building of the Russian Embassy in Kingston