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16 May, 2008 11:02

Emerging economies strengthen ties

The foreign ministers of Brazil, Russia, India and China have been holding their last day of talks in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg on Friday. The talks between the BRIC nations focused on financial issues, energy security and climate change.

The countries have agreed to pursue economic co-operation, including within the framework of international organisations and forums.

At a joint media conference after the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the countries are becoming more influential.

“We are very satisfied with the level of mutual trust and openness in our discussions. We all understand that the BRIC countries must be partners and build common approaches in the world arena to ensure international stability and control in the development of the world,” he said.

Speaking about Russia’s relationship with Ukraine, Lavrov blamed those who are trying to “drag Ukraine into NATO, despite the opinion of the majority of the country’s population” for increased tension between Moscow and Kiev.

Lavrov also criticized the Ukrainian administration for declaring Moscow Mayor Yury  Luzhkov persona  non grata,  calling the decision “absolutely unjustified.”

On Thursday, Sergey Lavrov met the foreign ministers of India and China. The three talked about creating a security belt around Afghanistan in order to tackle drug trafficking. They also discussed the situation in the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear programme. All three called on Belgrade and Pristina to renew talks on Kosovo.

BRIC countries have vast natural resources. Currently they have cheap workforces, as well as growing levels of consumption.

People living in these countries account for almost half the world’s population, while the combined GDP of Brazil, Russia, India and China is about $US 15.5 trillion.

Experts say that in the near future they could become the most economically powerful set of countries. It’s been predicted that their economies will overtake those of most of the world's leading nations by 2050.