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BRICS summit faces Syria wall

Delhi,Diplomacy, Mon, 26 Mar 2012 IANS

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) While there is a broad consensus on pushing global governance reforms, the BRICS summit of the five major emerging economies here may hit the Syria wall with Russia and China fiercely opposed to regime change and India, Brazil and South Africa backing the Arab League-backed UN resolution.


The 4th BRICS summit will also be doing some diplomatic tightrope walking on the contentious Iranian issue, with Russia Monday warning the West against "military adventurism" in that country.


With barely three days to go, officials of the five countries have stepped up efforts to come out with minimum shared position on the Syrian crisis on which opinion is divided.


While India had backed the West-backed UN resolution, supported by the Arab League, on Syria in February, China and Russia had vetoed the resolution on grounds that it amounted to a regime change.


Russian ambassador Alexander M. Kadakin asserted Russia's position Monday.


"Foreign interference in domestic affairs is ever increasing under the pretext of protecting civilians. We are against other countries imposing their will on other countries," said Kadakin when asked whether there will be a common position on the Syria issue at the BRICS summit.


The resolution had condemned Syria's suppression of protests against the Bashar al-Assad regime and called for a "transition to a democratic, plural political system", withdrawal of Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns, and release of those "detained arbitrarily".


India justified supporting the resolution, saying it did not support a regime change, but did so to spur democratic transition in the country.


India also argued that it voted for the resolution as it was in accordance with its "support for the efforts by the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of the crisis through a Syrian-led inclusive political process".


With such fundamental differences, it will be a challenge to come out with a shared BRICS position on the Syria issue, but informed sources suggested that there could be a broader formulation about opposing external interference in internal affairs of other countries.


With Iran, there are some differences of approach but formulating a common position will not be difficult as all five countries oppose use of force against the Iranian regime and are sceptical about the effectiveness of sanctions.


Alluding to the speculated plan of the US and Israel to attack Iran, the Russian envoy said that it will lead to a deterioration in the situation in West Asia and could harm the world economy by spiking oil prices.


He warned against military adventurism and advocated a renewed dialogue by the international community with Iran.


India has agreed to abide by the UN sanctions, but is opposed to unilateral sanctions by the US and the EU against Iran. India, too, believes that dialogue and diplomacy alone can resolve the Iranian nuclear impasse.


Asked whether the BRICS summit will come out with common positions on Syria and Iran, Sudhir Vyas, secretary (economic affairs) in India's external affairs ministry, said these issues will be discussed, but declined to speculate.


Efforts are on to narrow the gap and come out with shared positions which will be reflected in the Delhi Declaration, the final outcome document of the summit.


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