Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova: BRICS has proven its relevance and efficiency

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Russia has successfully completed its BRICS Presidency, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at her 18 February 2016 briefing.

"We have proposed to our partners a large number of new initiatives and projects to expand cooperation within BRICS. Many of these proposals were met with attention and interest, and most of them are already being actively implemented," she said.

Well-coordinated joint efforts have made it possible to strengthen strategic BRICS partnership and to streamline the ramified system of cooperation mechanisms, she added.

"BRICS has proven its relevance and efficiency. Experience has shown that its participants value this format, both in good times and more during difficult periods in international relations that call for joint efforts of like-minded countries and for pooling their potentials," Ms Zakharova stressed.

She also noted that, in the wake of Russia's BRICS Presidency, the Foreign Ministry has prepared and published a report summing up information about various events, adopted decisions and approved documents.

"The very same report lists the entire range of intra-BRICS cooperation avenues and cooperation formats that will continue to expand in the future," she added.

Expanded financial and economic cooperation within BRICS ranks among the main achievements of Russia's Presidency, she noted. For example, the New Development Bank and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement have been established.

"We are expecting the bank to finance its first project already this year, probably, in the area of sustainable energy and energy efficiency. Participants in the Ufa Summit approved the Strategy of BRICS Economic Partnership, supported the Russian idea to draft a roadmap of trade, economic and investment cooperation until 2020," Ms Zakharova noted.

During Russia's Presidency, cooperation was launched in such new areas as immigration, energy, industrial safety regulation, environmental protection and efforts to combat infectious diseases, she said.

"Over 100 events were held in just ten and a half months of Russia's Presidency, including over 25 events at the level of ministers and the heads of specialised agencies," she said.

Ms Zakharova also noted that the scope of BRICS' activities was not limited to economic issues. BRICS countries are united by common political and strategic interests in such areas as maintaining international stability and security and honouring the principles and norms of international law. She said BRICS is taking specific practical steps to fight trans-border organised crime, drug trafficking and corruption in line with the principles and norms of international law.

Speaking about India's upcoming BRICS Presidency, from February 2016 until early 2017, she said: "We are ready to support our Indian friends in this large-scale and multifaceted work that implies a search for a balance between innovation and continuity, i.e. reliance on previously adopted decisions. We are confident that India will introduce many new economic, political and cultural initiatives and innovations."