President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Ramaphosa, President Lula, Prime Minister Modi, President Xi Jinping, friends, and colleagues, I would like to begin by thanking our South African friends for everything they have done as part of their BRICS chairmanship this year.
Those of my colleagues who took the floor before me praised BRICS for its efforts, and overall we share this assessment. This association of five nations has established itself internationally as a respected entity and has been consistently strengthening its standing in international affairs.
BRICS has been following a forward-looking strategic course that meets the aspirations of a significant portion of the international community, the so-called global majority. By acting in a coordinated manner and based on the principles of equality, supporting each other as partners and taking each other’s interests into account, we tackle the most urgent issues on the global and regional agendas.
Importantly, we are all united in our commitment to shaping a multipolar world order with genuine justice, based on international law and in keeping with the key principles outlined in the UN Charter, including sovereignty and respecting the right of every nation to follow its own development model. We oppose hegemonies of any kind and the exceptional status that some countries aspire to, as well as the new policy it entails, a policy of continued neo-colonialism.
Let me point out that it was the attempts by some countries to preserve their global hegemony that paved the way to the deep crisis in Ukraine. It started when an anti-constitutional government coup took place in this country with the help of Western countries. This was followed by a war against people who refused to accept this coup. It was a cruel war, a war of extermination, which lasted for eight years.
Russia decided to side with people who are fighting for their culture, their traditions, language and future. Stopping the war unleashed by the West and its satellites in Ukraine against the people of Donbas is the only thing that defines our actions in Ukraine.
We are grateful to our BRICS colleagues who actively try to end this situation and achieve a just settlement by peaceful means.
Colleagues, what matters is that we all unanimously stand in favour of a multipolar world order that is truly fair and based on international law. From year to year, the BRICS countries are increasing their potential. As was already mentioned, the five partner states, with a total population exceeding 3 billion, account for a greater share in global GDP than the so-called Group of Seven regarding purchasing power parity. Over the past decade, BRICS countries have doubled their investment in the global economy, and their total exports have reached 20 percent of the global total.
The partner countries are successfully implementing their Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025. In particular, they are strengthening five-sided cooperation in such areas as diversification of supply chains, de-dollarisation and the transition to national currencies in mutual transactions, digital economy, support for small and medium-sized businesses, and fair technology transfer. And of course, businesses are taking an active part in these processes. The BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance are putting in a lot of effort, something the host of today’s meeting, President Ramaphosa, has already mentioned, and the leaders of these bodies are present here.
An important priority of BRICS cooperation is the creation of new sustainable and safe transport routes. Speaking to the participants of the BRICS Business Forum, I mentioned the relevance of accelerated development of transcontinental routes such as the North-South corridor, which will connect Russian ports in the northern seas and the Baltic Sea with sea terminals in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean and in the future, will be able to facilitate annual transit of up to 30 million tonnes of cargo.
We believe that the time has come to establish a permanent BRICS transport commission, which would deal not only with the North-South project but also on a broader scale with the development of logistics and transport corridors, interregional and global. If our partners agree, the Russian side could work on this idea as part of its BRICS chairmanship in 2024.
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