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India, S. Africa, Brazil vow joint fight for poor

October 18, 2007


PRETORIA, Oct 17: The leaders of emerging powerhouses India, South Africa and Brazil pledged to work together on Wednesday to ensure a better deal for developing nations as they seek a common voice on the world stage.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, his Brazilian counterpart Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — who are all eyeing a permanent spot at the UN Security Council — claimed a meeting of minds on issues ranging from the fight against poverty and stalled world trade talks.

“It has been a very successful session of the IBSA summit. It has been very much focused on achieving results ... to respond to all the challenges that our countries face,” said Mbeki at a signing ceremony.

The accords, which include agreements on customs, education and medical supplies, were designed “to consolidate our relationship” under the aegis of the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) alliance, said Mbeki.

The three southern hemisphere countries are united in their belief the current world order is overly beneficial to the north and see the forum as a chance to find a common voice to push their cause on the international stage.

In a joint statement issued at the end of the second annual IBSA summit, the leaders “recommitted themselves to vigorously pursue the deepening of South-South cooperation for sustainable development.

“They reaffirmed their shared commitment to the eradication of poverty, to sustain an inclusive economic growth,” the statement added.

Lula said the three countries were all committed to forging “the closest possible cooperation so we can together ensure a more equitable international politcal and economic order.

“We need to say to our people — from South Africa, India and Brazil — that from now we can build a new model of participation in the multilateral world,” added the Brazilian president.

The three countries, which have a combined population of some 1.3 billion people, believe they can best achieve results on issues such as the Doha round of world talks and reform of the United Nations by working together.

Singh, leader of the world’s second most populous nation, said IBSA was “a unique model of transnational cooperation” and identified progress in coordinating a line on the stalled Doha talks in particular.

“We had a very constructive discussion on the Doha round,” said Singh.

As the summit opened, Lula said that while the countries were invited as participants in talks with the group of eight (G8) industrialised nations, they needed to ensure their views carried more influence.

“This mechanism has to be perfected in a way that our voice has a real influence in major world issues,” he said.

“It is not of much value for us to be invited to the dessert course at the banquet of the powerful.”—AFP