Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told International Affairs Magazine Thursday that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is expanding its work in both the political and economic spheres—finance, science, technology, and agriculture, and had, as well, proposed "very serious theses, important signals on Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran in its Forteleza Summit Declaration" in April 2014.
Ryabkov's interview is prominently posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.
Answering a question about cooperation in Latin America and Africa ( South Africa President Jacob Zuma met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday, where Zuma said, "I agree that the BRICS has opened up a bigger place for our relations, and they are very meaningful on a number of issues"), Ryabkov explained that Russia
"does not make its policy in these regions on the basis of political canons, so characteristic of our colleagues in the West. This is no zero sum game."
Ryabkov pointed out the need for the creation of the BRICS development bank (The New Development Bank) and said that a reserve currency pool
"has arisen due to the fact that the United States' inaction delays the International Monetary Fund reforms. Certain countries have no influence on the decisions taken by the IMF. This situation does not correspond to the authority and responsibility of these states, primarily BRICS countries. That is why the creation of a BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool will help deal with financial stabilization and financial support to promising projects, without problems in mutual relations with the IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development."
Russia Calls on ASEAN To Increase Food Exports
Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev called on the member-nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase their food exports to Russia, at a meeting in Myanmar's capital, Naypyidaw, on Thursday
"I would like to draw your attention to the opportunities that present themselves to ASEAN countries in the sphere of agricultural exports, namely, fruit and vegetables. We are familiar with the high agricultural production standards of your countries, and we would welcome the export of your foodstuffs to Russia, such as seafood, nuts, beef, pork, chicken, in addition to fruit and vegetables," Ulyukayev said, according to Ria Novosti.
The Russian minister is in Myanmar participating in the ministerial talks between Russia and ASEAN, and the meeting of the Russia-Myanmar international commission for trade and economic cooperation. He pointed out the gradual strengthening of Russia-ASEAN economic ties. ASEAN's members are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
"Last year, the trade turnover between Russia and ASEAN reached $17.5 billion, and this year we have already topped that figure and expect a 6% rise compared to the last year," Ulyukayev said.
Ulyukayev also spoke about the growth of Russian investments into ASEAN member states, with $20 billion planned for Vietnam, and $7 billion for Indonesia. The international commission meeting will be attended by 60 representatives of Russian companies keen on working with ASEAN countries.