An Article on BRICS countries position on Syria and Iran published at "The Times of India" on March 29, 2012
NEW DELHI: Seeking to reinforce their growing economic heft with global diplomatic clout, the world's top emerging economies Thursday warned the West against allowing the Iran situation to "escalate into conflict" and underlined that dialogue was the only way to resolve the Iranian issue and Syria crisis.
"We agreed that a lasting solution in Syria and Iran can only be found through dialogue," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a closing statement at the fourth BRICS summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa here.
The Delhi Declaration issued at the end of the summit reflected the shared perception of the BRICS countries, which account for 40 percent of global GDP and nearly half the world's population, on these burning global issues that pit them against the Western approach of using sanctions and speculation about the use of force to resolve complex global issues.
"The situation concerning Iran cannot be allowed to escalate into conflict, the disastrous consequences of which will be in no one's interest," said the declaration.
"We are concerned about the situation that is emerging around Iran's nuclear issue," a joint declaration said in a veiled allusion to the speculated plan by the US and Israel to strike at suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.
Backing Iran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the BRICS countries said they "support resolution of the issues involved through political and diplomatic means and dialogue between the parties concerned, including between the IAEA and Iran and in accordance with the provisions of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions".
The unfolding crisis in Syria took some serious brainstorming to reach a common BRICS position.
China and Russia, the two veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council, had voted against the US and Arab League-backed UN resolution on grounds that it amounted to a regime change. India had supported the resolution.
The BRICS declaration, however, saw the leaders voicing "deep concern at the current situation in Syria" as they called for "an immediate end to all violence and violations of human rights in that country".
"Global interests would best be served by dealing with the crisis through peaceful means that encourage broad national dialogues that reflect the legitimate aspirations of all sections of Syrian society and respect Syrian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty," it said.
The declaration supported "a Syrian-led inclusive political process", an explanation India had used to justify its vote on the UN's Syria resolution, and welcomed the joint efforts of the UN and the Arab League.
The BRICS leaders also welcomed the appointment of Kofi Annan, a former UN secretary general, as the joint special envoy on the Syrian crisis and supported him in his efforts play a role in spurring a political resolution of the crisis.
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned against external interference, saying that it has the potential to destroy the dialogue process. Medvedev added that he has proposed a collective humanitarian aid by the BRICS countries to the Syrian people.
The BRICS' stand on Syria and Iran will be viewed with unease by the West which has tended to see the five-nation grouping as an attempt at an alternate world order.
In this respect, the fourth BRICS summit in Delhi marked the evolution of a group focused on global economic governance issues to one which is trying to achieve greater political coherence.
This was reflected in the BRICS' formulation on the festering crisis in the Middle East and North Africa.
"We agree that the period of transformation taking place in the Middle East and North Africa should not be used as a pretext to delay resolution of lasting conflicts but rather it should serve as an incentive to settle them, in particular the Arab-Israeli conflict," said the declaration.