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LEADERS of the Brics group of developing countries rejected US and EU sanctions on other countries as their virtual summit opened today.
Saying the war in Ukraine “sounded an alarm for humanity,” summit host and Chinese President Xi Jinping said it exposed the dangers in great power rivalry and building up military blocs.
Chinese media said that next week’s G7 and Nato summits would “intensify existing tensions” while trying to “preserve the US-dominated global order” and it was important that the Brics were able to present an alternative approach to international relations based on co-operation rather than confrontation.
Decades of progress in poverty reduction around the world risked being lost as Covid-19, debt and energy and food crises spread across the global South, Mr Xi warned. The US and EU were imposing suffering on their own peoples by forcing prices up through sanctions, which they should recognise were a “boomerang and a double-edged sword.”
He attacked US attempts to use sanctions on Chinese companies to restrict its technological development, saying “trying to block other people’s road will only block your own road in the end.”
The anti-sanctions message was predictably echoed by Russian President Vladimir Putin — whose country has been the target of sweeping sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine — but also by Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who said the “risks to trade and investment flows [and] the stability of energy supply chains” would have a crippling impact on developing countries.
None of the Brics — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — have applied the US and EU sanctions, though Brazil and India are considered US allies.
The leaders also took aim at Western countries for blocking a Covid vaccine patent waiver at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a proposal originally tabled by India and South Africa and backed by a majority of countries worldwide. Britain was accused last week of “deliberate wrecking tactics” at the WTO to stop a general waiver and protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Brics co-operation in fighting Covid and leading the economic recovery from the virus’s impact would be very important, while South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa praised its work on food security and said his country was working to strengthen ties to Russia and China.
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