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Economy

BRICS leaders envision new world order through unity

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BRICS leaders walk to the summit in Ufa, Russia, on July 9.   © Reuters

UFA, Russia -- The leaders of five major emerging nations vowed to enhance economic and political cooperation in a meeting here Thursday, delivering a defiant pledge to become a global presence rivaling Western powers.

     The BRICS nations should work together to elevate the status of emerging countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the meeting.

     The group of emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa adopted the Ufa Declaration, outlining 77 steps toward closer partnership.

     In it, the five nations expressed frustration over stalled structural reforms at the International Monetary Fund, which has met stiff resistance from the U.S. Congress.

     "We remain deeply disappointed with the prolonged failure by the United States to ratify the IMF 2010 reform package," the document states.

     The declaration makes a veiled reference to Greece, saying, "We share concerns regarding the challenges of sovereign debt restructurings."

     The group also announced the launch of the jointly funded New Development Bank, a financial institution aimed at revitalizing growth as the five countries lose the economic momentum they once enjoyed. Possible projects include infrastructure development in an area encompassing Europe and Asia.

     Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the BRICS will continue to contribute to global security and economic development.

     Due to Western sanctions over military intervention in Ukraine, Russia has been expelled from the elite club of the Group of Eight nations.

     Russia views the BRICS as a way to avoid isolation and to maintain influence in the international community. Defending Russia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the summit that unilateral sanctions are harmful to the world economy.

     With its economy accounting for 60% of the group's total GDP, China's clout was palpable throughout.

     Xi said the BRICS are a good example of how countries with different social systems can cooperate with each other.

     Some say China may be losing its interest in the group as the country continues to flex muscles on the global stage. China has already succeeded in recruiting not just Central Asian nations but also European countries for its Silk Road infrastructure project and its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

     Russia appears to be struggling to maintain a proper distance from China. On Thursday night, Putin will host a meeting between BRICS chiefs and leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union. Putin aims to secure a leading role for Russia in the development of Eurasia, including Central Asian nations that were former Soviet republics.

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