South African official calls for BRICS to strengthen solidarity

Photo taken on May 19 shows the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations held in a virtual format.
Photo taken on May 19 shows the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations held in a virtual format.

The BRICS should strengthen solidarity and deepen cooperation as the world confronts multiple challenges, said Anil Sooklal, deputy director-general for Asia and the Middle East at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa.

“There was a clear call from all of the BRICS countries that we need to solidify, even more, our cooperation and that we need to interact more with the global South,” he told Xinhua.

Sooklal said the BRICS cooperation has yielded positive results in many sectors. “We launched the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Center, where we collectively address the issues of vaccine production, the issue of capacity, especially in developing countries.”

On the financial front, the New Development Bank has been a positive force for BRICS cooperation, he said. “In terms of the number of projects that have been initiated over the past five years since the bank came into existence, where it has assisted all of us in terms of our infrastructure and sustainable development projects. South Africa has benefited to the tune of over billions of U.S. dollars on projects under the New Development Bank.”

Sooklal said the BRICS remain relevant due to many challenges facing the global South and fault lines in the global geopolitical and economic landscape, where there is an unbalanced international architecture that favors certain countries.

“I think BRICS has to work collectively to address these challenges and fast track the issues affecting the countries of the global South. Therefore not only BRICS, but also BRICS’ partnership with the emerging market and developing countries can be a voice of the global South, calling for actions to ensure that we don’t accept the current uneven global architecture, and should make it more inclusive and representative,” he added.

The world, especially the global South, has been suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis in Ukraine, economic challenges, threats to food and energy security and global supply chains disruption, most of which are the result of unjust unilateral sanctions imposed outside the United Nations system by a select few countries.

“So we have to speak out and act collectively against these unjust measures,” Sooklal said. “I think the best way is to act as a collective force in the global South to challenge the unjust system.” Enditem

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