BRICS comes out with strong support for reform of multilateral institutions

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New Delhi, June 1 (PTI) In a significant move, the BRICS on Tuesday strongly pitched for reforming multilateral institutions, especially the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and the World Health Organization, saying they must reflect contemporary realities.

At an India-hosted virtual meeting of the foreign ministers of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) countries, China and Russia supported the aspiration of Brazil, India and South Africa to play a greater role in the United Nations.

The foreign ministers for the first time issued a standalone joint statement on strengthening and reforming the multilateral institutions and agreed on a set of six principles that should guide their reform.

China and Russia are both permanent members of the UN Security Council and their support to the aspirations of Brazil, India and South Africa to play a bigger role in the UN assumes significance.

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.

The foreign ministers adopted and released the 'BRICS Joint Ministerial Statement on Strengthening and Reforming of the Multilateral System' stressing the urgent need for comprehensive strengthening and reforming of the entire multilateral architecture, including the United Nations and its principal organs -- the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Secretariat and the Economic and Social Council.

They also called for reform of the international financial architecture represented by the IMF and the World bank; the multilateral trading system represented by the World Trade Organisation and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the global health governance system with the WHO at its core.

'They recommitted to instil new life in the discussions on the reform of the UN Security Council and continue the work to revitalize the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council,' the joint statement on reform of the multilateral system said.

India has been a strong contender for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

'The ministers reaffirmed the sole authority of the UN Security Council for imposing sanctions and called for further consolidation and strengthening of the working methods of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees to ensure their effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency,' the statement said.

The ministers reaffirmed that multilateralism should promote international law, democracy, equity and justice, mutual respect, right to development and non-interference in internal affairs of any country without double standards,' it added.

It said the ministers reiterated their commitment to multilateralism through upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the UN as its indispensable cornerstone. PTI MPB SMN SMN