BRICS leaders to discuss Venezuela crisis

Rio de Janeiro, July 26 (IANS) The Foreign Ministers of the BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- who will meet on Friday in Rio de Janeiro to prepare for their November 13-14 summit in Brasilia, will take advantage of this week's gathering to discuss different issues on the global agenda, including the crisis in Venezuela.

"The thematic agenda is broad and open. It is expected that the speeches will deal as a priority with issues of political order and international security, like international governance and reform of the United Nations, as well as regional crises and situations," according to a guide for the meeting released by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

Despite the fact that the document does not specifically cite the Venezuelan economic, political and social crisis, the Brazilian government on assorted occasions has expressed its interest in discussing the matter with Russia and China, two of Brasilia's BRICS partners, Efe news reported.

While the government of ultrarightist Jair Bolsonaro since January has recognised Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, Moscow and Beijing still support President Nicolas Maduro.

Brazil, one of the countries most affected by the exodus of millions of Venezuelans and by that country's economic difficulties, defends the use of diplomatic and economic pressure to force Maduro to call free elections.

In an interview provided to foreign reporters in Rio this month, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao said that the solution to the Venezuelan crisis demands dialogue among the different actors, including Russia and China.

"The issue of Venezuela is something complex because it involves several actors. Not only the Venezuelan people and the current governing authorities but also foreign actors like Cuba, Russia and China and obviously the group of South American and Latin American nations, who want Venezuela to quickly recover a political and economic order compatible with the liberal democratic systems," he said.

Mourao said that among the foreign actors influencing the Venezuelan crisis, China is the least active, although the fact that Beijing and Moscow hold permanent seats on the UN Security Council is something that prevents that organization from considering the Venezuelan crisis.

Besides the regional and international agenda, the foreign ministers at the forum will also discuss their strategies to raise their participation and influence in multilateral organizations, mainly the UN, which they say must be reformed, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Participating in the third BRICS foreign ministers' meeting will be the representatives from Brazil (Ernesto Araujo); Russia (Sergei Lavrov); India (Subrahmanyam Jaishankar); China (Wang Yi); and South Africa (Naledi Pandor).

Brazil holds the rotating presidency of the bloc in 2019.

--IANS

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