Held as part of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the meeting brought together the leaders of more than 50 countries from around the world and senior executives of regional organisations.
BRICS countries adopted the Second Johannesburg Declaration following their summit.
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Address by the President of Russia at the BRICS Plus/Outreach format meeting
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Ramaphosa, heads of state, colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to begin by thanking the South African Chairmanship for organising this highly representative meeting in the BRICS Plus/Outreach format. It provides us with a very important communications framework, offering us a great opportunity to have a meaningful conversation on topical matters dealing with mutually beneficial cooperation with like-minded countries, i.e., the countries which largely share the approaches of the five BRICS nations. I am glad to offer all of you, dear friends, my greetings.
All of us here are proponents of a new multipolar world order with a genuine balance of interests and taking into consideration the sovereign interests of as many countries as possible, while enabling them to follow their own development models and helping them preserve their diverse national cultures and traditions.
I would like to point out that BRICS is not competing against anyone and does not seek to act as a counterweight to anyone. It is obvious, however, that the emergence of a new world order, which is an objective process, has its fierce opponents who are seeking to stall this process and avert the emergence of new, independent centres of development and power around the world.
The countries of the so-called Golden Billion have gone to great lengths to preserve the unipolar world as it used to be. It suits them, and they are the ones who benefit from it. They are trying to substitute international law with their own rules-based order, as they call it, but no one has seen these rules. At the same time, they use these rules in the pursuit of their self-serving objectives and change them whenever it suits their political agenda, whenever they like, and in any way that suits the interests of specific countries.
In fact, this is also a manifestation of colonialism, even if in a new form. By the way, it is not very pretty. Today, these colonisers hide behind the noble slogans of democracy and human rights, while seeking to resolve the challenges they face at the expense of others and continuing to siphon off resources from the developing countries.
By the way, the President of Brazil has mentioned the debt burden the developing economies face. Of course, on the one hand, there is this effort to siphon off all these resources, while, on the other hand, in terms of lending, the relations are engineered in a way that makes repaying these loans virtually impossible, so these obligations can be viewed as mandatory indemnities rather than loan payments.
The emerging new world order is also threatened by the radical neoliberalism certain countries are trying to impose, aiming to destroy traditional values that are important to all of us: the family and respect for national and religious traditions.
Certain politicians do not hesitate to justify even neo-Nazism, xenophobia, and various kinds of extremism and condone terrorists to serve their opportunistic purposes.
The global majority that the countries attending the summit belong to, is becoming increasingly tired of the pressure and manipulation; but it is open to honest, equal and mutually respectful cooperation.
This is the approach that the BRICS countries take to developing their multidimensional relations with the countries present at the summit and other interested states, as well as regional integration bodies, including the CIS, the EAEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN, the Caribbean Community and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
Given that most African states are participating in our meeting, BRICS today naturally focuses on Africa, and we in Russia are happy about that. We believe that this is the right approach, especially since we have the Republic of South Africa as our Chair today.
Friends, I met with many of you recently, at the second Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg where useful and constructive discussions took place. We reaffirmed in St Petersburg that Russia and Africa are linked by growing ties of friendship and close mutually beneficial relations that rely on a foundation laid during the African peoples’ struggle for freedom in the mid-20th century.
We deeply appreciate the African countries’ extremely friendly attitude towards Russia. For its part, Russia is sincerely interested in a further deepening of multifaceted ties with the African continent, and we will actively promote these ties in practice and implement new joint projects in various fields.
Our country has been paying special attention to ensuring food and fertilizer supplies to African countries and the global markets in general. In other words, we use all the opportunities at our disposal to contribute to the global efforts to fight hunger and prevent a food crisis. Luckily, Russia has produced record grain harvests for the second year in a row.
By the way, as I have already said, we will provide urgent humanitarian aid to six African countries within the next several months by sending each of them between 25,000 and 50,000 tonnes of grain and delivering it for free, as was announced back in St Petersburg. We are about to complete the talks with our friends on these matters, and we are about to deliver on this task. I must point out that we are doing this despite all the illegal sanctions against our exports which seriously complicate transport, logistics, insurance and settlements. I would like to reassure our African friends that Russia will always remain a reliable supplier of agricultural products and will continue to support the neediest countries.
Russia has the same responsible attitude on energy exports which mostly focus on rapidly developing markers. By offering its fuel at competitive prices, Russia helps friendly countries, including those in Africa, keep prices down while expanding manufacturing and agricultural output. This strengthens their energy security and makes their economies more resilient.
Experts have calculated that by 2050, the global population will increase by 1.7 billion people, while global demand for energy will be up by 22 percent with this demand mostly driven by the least developed and developing countries. Therefore, it is obvious that there will be no alternative to hydrocarbon fuel in the foreseeable future. This does not mean that we do not need to accomplish the energy transition, but the transition to a low-carbon economy must be gradual, balanced and carefully prepared, taking into consideration specific national contexts and capabilities.
Speaking of which, certain countries are now dealing with the consequences of the mistakes they made in planning for that transition. The problems are only growing. But we believe these problems can be solved by efficient use of all types of energy resources after the introduction of new, clean technologies and incentives to reduce the carbon footprint.
Russia, along with its BRICS partners, certainly supports technological cooperation on equal terms in renewable energy as well as in other important areas, including the development of new types of nuclear reactors, the promotion of hydrogen technologies, and so on, for example, hydropower. By the way, Africa is our priority partner in these areas as well.
Russia is currently involved in more than 30 promising energy projects in Africa, which are at various stages of development. We are active in 16 countries. For example, Rosatom is building the Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt. The total capacity of the power projects we are promoting is about 3.7 gigawatts.
Exports of Russian crude oil, petrochemical products, and liquefied natural gas to Africa have more than doubled over the past two years – a decent increase of 160 percent.
It goes without saying that every aspect that was discussed fully applies not only to Africa, but also to other regions and certainly the countries invited to this BRICS plus/Outreach meeting – the export of food, fertilisers, energy resources, other economic initiatives, as well as cultural, scientific, education and sports cooperation. We will build constructive and mutually beneficial relations with all these countries and expand our partnership. Our country has a lot to offer.
In this regard, I would like to note that Russia will be chairing BRICS next year. Representing our colleagues, we will prioritise expanding ties with the countries that are joining us in the BRICS plus/Outreach format.
In conclusion, I would like to express confidence that this meeting will be very useful and, I hope, will contribute to the strengthening of friendly relations between the five BRICS countries – more countries next year – and your countries, and will serve to intensify cooperation in a range of areas.
Thank you for your attention.