India, Brazil, SAfrica end summit, pledge to boost trade

18th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Brazil, India and South Africa on Tuesday agreed to push for UN reform, but their summit talks here focused more on trade and worry about the global financial crisis than on diplomatic unity.

"We continue to collaborate closely in areas such as the G20, BRICS, WTO and G77 plus China regarding economic and financial issues," said Zuma at the end of the summit attended by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

"We also agreed on the need for the reform of the United Nations, including the UN Security Council, to make it more representative and effective," he added.

The three leaders issued a statement calling for an end to hostilities in Libya and urging the concerned parties to agree on an inclusive transitional government that would promote "national unity, reconciliation, democracy and reconstruction".

They also stressed the central role of the United Nations in post-conflict Libya and the contribution the African Union can make in this process.

The impact of the eurozone's financial woes was also high on the agenda, with the leaders urging European governments to take measures to prevent the crisis from spreading.

"We share concern about the economic crisis which is centred in the northern countries. We call on the leaders to prevent the crisis from spilling into a global crisis," said Rousseff.

She noted that India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) boosted their ability to withstand the eurozone crisis by diversifying their trade partners and enhancing increasing cooperation among other developing countries.

The three emerging economies managed to surpass an intra-trade target of $15 billion set during the forum's inception in 2003, achieving $16.1 billion in 2010 and on track for a 2015-target of $25 billion.

But critics call into question IBSA's importance after South Africa last year joined the so-called BRICS, which include emerging heavyweights China, India, Brazil and Russia.

"Given the explosiveness of the relationship between India and China, China has done a very skilful job in neutralising India by inviting SA to join BRICS," Mills Soko, associate professor of international political economy at the University of Cape Town told Business Day newspaper.

IBSA has often been seen as India's project to increase its influence. The three are the so-called "real" democracies in the BRICS stable.

"We share the principles of pluralism, democracy, tolerance and multiculturalism," said Indian Prime Minister Singh said in his opening notes on Tuesday.

As non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, the countries discussed the political situation in Syria.

"We noted the contribution by IBSA to the peaceful resolution of conflict such as our joint mission to Syria" said Zuma.

The three nations recently coordinated action on Syria. All abstained in the UN Security Council vote to slap sanctions Syria, triggering a walk-out by the United States.

In August the IBSA countries sent a joint mission to Damascus.

Forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have killed more than 3,000 people in a fierce crackdown on people who took to the streets calling for greater freedoms since March this year.

On the issue of climate change, the three nations resolved that the outcome of the 17th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which South Africa will host from November 28 should be comprehensive and balanced.

The Durban meeting is seen as a last chance to find a way forward on fighting climate change, with the Kyoto Protocol's commitments to cut carbon emissions expiring after 2012.

IBSA nations formed a united front in demanding emissions reduction and climate aid money at the last talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

The next IBSA summit will be held in India in 2013.

© 2011 AFP

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