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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: http://humanite.fr/15_04_2011-brics...

Brics: the emerging economies making themselves heard in Libya

Translated Saturday 30 April 2011, by Mélanie Vogt and reviewed by Bill Scoble

Previously, we expected them in an economic niche. Meeting on Thursday in Sanya on the Chinese island of Hainan, the Brics, acronym for the world’s large, emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have now found a common voice to express their opposition to the military intervention in Libya.

Chinese president Hu Jintao and his counterparts the Brazilian Dilma Rousseff, South AfricanJacob Zuma, Russian Dmitry Medvedev, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have sent a clear message to the West and to its main representatives, including France which is leading the offensive. They say in their final communiqué that “a negotiated solution must be found to resolve the Libyan crisis”, and “resorting to force must be avoided”. They are in favour of a negotiated solution, welcoming the African Union’s efforts to mediate, which have been lead by South African president Jacob Zuma.

New chance for geopolitics

This unified standpoint, tentative for now, nevertheless marks a turning point which could lay the foundations for a new type of geopolitical alliance. However, it should be noted that this strategic unity seriously failed during the UN security votes, in the case of both the Ivory Coast and Libya.

In no particular order the Brics steered the debate, with the exception of South Africa, which had voted in favour of the resolution 1973. The four other countries preferred to abstain from voting. However, Moscow and Beijing, permanent members of the Security Council, have the right to veto which, if used, would have immediately forced the resolution to be abandoned. For Beijing, it was a
first deviation from its diplomatic policy of non-insurgency in the home affairs of foreign countries.

“Military interference”

Within a few days, the violence of the NATO strikes and the death of civilian victims have pushed the Brics to openly criticise the military attack and its true aims. China officially informed Nicholas Sarkozy of this during his visit to Beijing at the end of March. Tang Zhichao, an expert from the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations also wrote in China’s international newspaper, People’s Daily: “The events that have occurred have already shown that humanitarian intervention is nothing but a pretext for military interference in the home affairs of another nation”.

Less than a week since the vote on the resolution on 17 March, the Brics called for a ceasefire. They were ignored. The Sanya Declaration lends a more serious dimension to this call for ceasefire. “The resolutions of the Security Council should be applied [...] in accordance with what they stand for,”Dmitry Medvedev said at the end of the Summit. “What we essentially have is a military operation.
The resolution does not mention this,” he said, adding that “the Brics are completely united on the issue”. According to a diplomatic source, all the leaders categorically condemned the bombings.

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