BRICS ministers urge dialogue on Gulf crisis, condemn terrorism

Rio de Janerio: Union MoS Road Transport and Highways V.K. Singh (Former Minister of State for External Affairs) with Foreign Ministers of China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa - Wang Yi, Sergei Lavrov, Ernesto Araujo and Naledi Pandor respectively, at the Meeting of the BRICS Foreign Ministers in Rio de Janerio, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, ┬áIndia along with foreign ministers of BRICS member states expressed concern over the heightened tensions in the Gulf region that has led to Iran and Britain seizing each others’ oil tankers with around 45 Indian sailors on board waiting to be released.

The ministers, meeting ahead of the BRICS summit in November in Brasilia that will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending, also condemned terrorism including “terror attacks in some BRICS countries”.

This was an obvious reference to India that witnessed a terror attack in Pulwama on February 14 this year, orchestrated by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), that led to the killing of 40 paramilitary personnel.

The ministers, who included Gen. V.K. Singh from India who was standing in for External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Wang Yi of China, Sergey Lavrov of Russia, and Ernesto Araujo of Brazil, and South Africa’s Naledi Pandor, also “reiterated support for international and national efforts to achieve an ‘Afghan-led, Afghan-owned’ peace and reconciliation process.

Russia and China have along with the US and Pakistan been holding peace talks with the Taliban.

In a strong indictment of terrorism, the BRICS ministers, “condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever and by whomsoever committed”.

In a statement, the ministers said terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable, and urged for concerted efforts to fight terrorism under UN auspices. It also recognized the “primary role” of countries in preventing and countering terrorism, including radicalisation, recruitment, the travel of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, and blocking sources and channels of terrorist financing including, through organised crime by means of money-laundering.

The reference to Foreign Terrorist Fighters is important as both India and China are facing the brunt of terrorism — in Jammu and Kashmir and Xinjiang region respectively, where a large number of foreign-based terrorists are involved in terror activities.

They also called for the dismantling of terrorist bases — in another reference to Pakistan for allowing terrorist bases to operate freely on its soil.

The ministers reiterated the responsibility of all States to prevent the financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.

They also called for adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN General Assembly.

They emphasized the importance of preventing and combating the financing of terrorism and welcomed the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2462 (2019).

The Ministers also noted progress on the BRICS Working Group on Counter Terrorism, and also looked forward to the outcomes of the Fourth BRICS Working Group meeting, including the establishment of sub-working groups on specific themes, and the seminar on terrorism to be held in Brazil from July 29 to August 2, it said.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has called on the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — partners to support Moscow’s concept of collective security in the Gulf.

Tensions in the Gulf exacerbated when Iran on July 19 seized the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz that has 18 Indians on board.

On Thursday, Iran freed nine of 12 Indian crew members on board Panama-flagged MT Riah tanker seized on July 13 in the Strait of Hormuz.

Efforts are also on to free 24 Indian crew members on board Iranian tanker ‘Grace 1’, which was detained by British marines in the Strait of Gibraltar earlier this month.

“The Ministers expressed the concern over the heightened tensions in the Gulf region and called for a peaceful political solution through dialogue and diplomatic engagement,” it said.

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