While foreign minister Héctor Timerman is in RussiaThursday, May 29, 2014
Argentina invited to BRICS meeting in Brazil
Amid long-held speculation Argentina could be invited to join the group of emerging economies known as BRICS, the Russian government has invited Argentina to join a seaside summit of the five-nation group scheduled for July 15 in Brazil.
The invitation comes as the two countries continue to rub diplomatic shoulders, with both Russia and Argentina keen to gain the other’s support in their respective territorial disputes: Russian-speaking Ukraine and the Malvinas.
The prospect of Argentina sitting down with BRICS in Fortaleza, Brazil, two days after the closing ceremony of the World Cup was announced during a joint press conference in Moscow between a visiting Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who confirmed the intentions of his boss, President Vladimir Putin, to meet personally with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
BRICS is comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and together account for 43 percent of the world’s population, 25 percent of its wealth and 20 percent of its investment. Trade between the countries has reached an annual growth rate of a 28 percent, which the five hope will total of US$500 billion during 2015. Trade has increased 13 times since 2001 between the countries, from US$21 billion to US$280 billion.
While significantly smaller than the four original members’ — Brazil, Russia, India and China — Argentina’s economy is made more appealing by its potential in unconventional hydrocarbons, with one of the world’s largest potentials for unconventional hydrocarbon reserves. Timerman is in Russia to advance on a strategic partnership deal.
“With regard to economic relations, there was discussion about the necessary aspects for intensified bilateral trade, investment and joint ventures,” the Russian Foreign Ministry summarized in a press statement.
South Africa, the newest and smallest member nation in BRICS, joined the group in 2011 after also being the first invited to a summit without membership. Argentina would be the second.
“This is the first step taken by the country to enter BRICS. Argentina is even before Mexico, which has never been invited,” Hernando Kleimans, director of Buenos Aires Province House in Russia, told Infonews yesterday.
If she accepts the invitation, President Fernández de Kirchner would essentially be followed back to Buenos Aires by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is scheduled to visit Argentina on July 19.
In a veiled criticism at the West, the two countries issued a news release after the meeting criticizing “the intervention in the domestic affairs of other nations through economic, political or military means.”
Argentina has sought support from Russia — among other countries — over its long-held dispute with the United Kingdom for the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands, a British overseas territory. Similarly, Russia has looked to Argentina for a similar brand of support for the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine.
“Timerman highlighted the Argentine position which is against double standards,” the press statement added, in references to previous statements that the referendum in which Crimea voted to become part of Russia was as worthless as a vote held last year in the Malvinas.
— Herald with DyN, Télam