New Delhi: Five-nation grouping BRICS on Tuesday resolved to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the cross-border movement of terrorists, and vowed to step up joint efforts in building support for an India-backed global framework to effectively deal with the menace. At an India-hosted virtual meeting, the foreign ministers of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) countries also vowed to finalise a “result-oriented action plan” by the bloc”s counter-terrorism working group in 2021.
In yet another important move, the ministers strongly pitched for strengthening and reforming the multilateral institutions especially the United Nations and its principal organs like UN Security Council and General Assembly, besides International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and World Health Organization. The meeting was attended by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, minister of international relations of South Africa Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor and Brazilian foreign minister Carlos Alberto Franco.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar chaired the meeting. In the meeting, the ministers agreed to instil new life in the discussions on the reform of the UN Security Council. China and Russia supported the aspiration of Brazil, India and South Africa to play a greater role in the UN. The ministers issued a standalone statement on listing measures to reform the multilateral bodies.
Sources said the foreign ministers of the BRICS countries for the first time agreed on a common, stand-alone joint statement on reforming the multilateral system. Referring to Afghanistan, the ministers stressed that a stable, democratic, inclusive, independent, sovereign and peaceful Afghanistan is crucial for the progress of the region.
A joint statement said the ministers called for an immediate, permanent and comprehensive cease-fire, emphasizing the need to preserve the gains made over the last two decades and to protect the rights of all Afghan citizens. “They reiterated their commitment towards an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and an important role of the UN in peace-making and peacebuilding in Afghanistan,” it said.
“They welcomed all international efforts aimed at establishing sustainable peace in Afghanistan. They strongly condemned the continuing violence in Afghanistan, especially deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist groups,” the statement said. The sources said India was also able to get the foreign ministers to agree to strong language on counter-terrorism, including reference to cross-border movement of terrorists, terror financing networks and safe-havens.
Referring to Myanmar, the ministers reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Myanmar. “They voiced support to the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations” (ASEAN) initiative and the implementation of its five-point consensus on Myanmar. They called on all sides to refrain from violence,” the statement said. Myanmar has been witnessing street protests since the military seized control of the country in a coup on February 1 after detaining Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD).
The statement said the ministers expressed strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed. “They resolved to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the cross-border movement of terrorists, terror financing networks, and safe-havens,” the statement said. “They reiterated their resolve to step up joint efforts in building support for the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT),” it said.
Recalling the BRICS counter-terrorism strategy adopted by leaders of the bloc last year, they reiterated their commitment to finalise a result-oriented Action Plan by the Counter-Terrorism Working Group in 2021. “The ministers also reiterated the need for all countries to cooperate in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms under the principles of equality and mutual respect,” the joint statement said. “They agreed to continue to treat all human rights, including the right to development, in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis,” it said.
The ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation on issues of common interests both within BRICS and in multilateral fora including the United Nations Human Rights Council, taking into account the necessity to promote, protect and fulfil human rights in a “non-selective, non-politicised and constructive manner, and without double standards.”