Brics summit of emerging nations to explore bank plan

Brics leaders in Delhi Leaders of Brics met in India to discuss closer trade links and a new bank

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The main emerging economies have met in the Indian capital, Delhi, to look at ways of strengthening their position against Europe and the United States.

Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa (the Brics group) are proposing an alternative to the World Bank.

Leaders of the five nations, which now account for nearly 28% of the global economy, discussed closer trade links.

In their joint Delhi Declaration, they also said dialogue was the only route to lasting solutions in Syria and Iran.

The summit was held amid Tibetan protests aimed at China's president.

Hu Jintao joined other Brics leaders for the fourth meeting of the bloc of emerging economies. On Wednesday, a Tibetan activist died in Delhi after setting himself on fire two days earlier in protest at Mr Hu's visit.

Brics nations' share of the global economy has risen fast in recent years and is expected to continue to grow. Correspondents say they are also growing in diplomatic clout.

Closer economic ties

On Thursday, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and Jacob Zuma of South Africa joined Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr Hu for hand shakes and a group photograph at the start of the one-day meeting.

"The Brics countries have agreed to examine in greater detail a proposal to set up a South-South development bank, funded and managed by the Brics and other developing countries," Mr Singh later said.

The Delhi Declaration expressed concern over the current global economic situation, especially in the euro zone.

It said the Brics nations were ready to work with the international community to ensure that the world economy was taken forward, and Europe was given the necessary assistance so it could help itself.

The meeting also agreed to expand the capital base of the World Bank and other multilateral institutions to ensure global economic stability.

But, Mr Singh said that "institutions of global political and economic governance created more than six decades ago have not kept pace with the changing world" and that developing countries needed access to capital.

The five nations, in their closing statement, voiced concern about slow reforms and called on the International Monetary Fund to make its surveillance framework "more integrated and even-handed".

'Unjust policies'

The countries also resolved "to promote greater interaction among the business communities of Brics nations and easier visa facilities for businessmen".

Mr Singh said the Brics group must speak with one voice on important issues such as reform of the UN Security Council.

President Hu said Brics nations should "enhance co-operation and intensify communication in international trade".

Brazil's Dilma Rousseff said the Brics had become "the most important engines of the world economy in the past few years. Together, we will be responsible for more than half of the foreseen growth for 2012, 56% according to the IMF".

She blamed the developed world for hindering other nations with "unjust" monetary policies.

Correspondents say the joint development bank is expected to be established along the lines of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, offering funding outside the current global financial system.

The Brics leaders also discussed the volatile situation in Syria and Iran and stressed the "vital importance that stability, peace and security of the Middle East and North Africa holds for the international community".

"We call for an immediate end to all violence and violations of human rights" in Syria, the declaration said adding that "the situation concerning Iran cannot be allowed to escalate into conflict, the disastrous consequences of which will be in no one's interest".

The Brics nations have radically different economies and political systems and have often struggled to find common ground in the past.

But, they have been looking at ways to increase their trade links and decrease dependency on Europe and the United States.

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