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BRICS Summit Opens In Brazil

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (right) walks with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (right) walks with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15.

The leaders of the so-called BRICS nations have met at the start of a three-day summit in Brazil.

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa met on July 15 in the northeastern city of Fortaleza before heading the next day to Brasilia, the Brazilian capital.

The leaders on July 15 launched a development bank and a reserve fund worth $100 billion.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said the New Development Bank will be based in Shanghai and its first president will be from India. It will have a startup capital of $50 billion.

The new institutions are meant to be the BRICS own versions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which are seen as dominated by the United States and the EU.

The BRICS states together represent 40 percent of the world population and one-fifth of the global economy.

But their economies are cooling down, with Russia and Brazil expecting just 1 percent growth this year and China also experiencing reduced growth.


Meeting on the eve of the summit in Brasilia, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff voiced their support for the project.

The five countries "are among the largest in the world and cannot content themselves in the middle of the 21st century with any kind of dependency," Rousseff said.

According to reports, the bank -- tentatively dubbed the New Development Bank -- will have initial capital of $50 billion.

Debate is still ongoing as to where the bank will be headquartered, with Shanghai, New Delhi, and Moscow mentioned as the top candidates.

Reuters says Shanghai will likely get the nod.

On the eve of the summit, Putin told ITAR-TASS that he wanted the emerging powers to play a bigger role in world affairs to counter U.S. influence.

"Any attempts to create a model of international relations where all decisions are made within a single 'pole' are ineffective, malfunction regularly, and are ultimately set to fail," he said.

Putin also said he would press BRICS leaders to agree measures to prevent "sanctions attacks" by the United States to "harass" countries opposing its policies.

The United States and the European Union have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on some Russian officials and companies for annexing Crimea and stirring up rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

With relations worsening with the West over Ukraine, commentators say BRICS has become more important for Putin.

The BRICS members have refused to criticize Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

And Brazilian officials say the summit statement will make only passing reference to Ukraine, repeating a neutral stance already voiced by BRICS leaders.

Ahead of the summit, President Xi Jinping said China would try to better play the role of a responsible major power and promote the rights of the developing world.

Speaking to South American media, Xi said Beijing "will come up with more Chinese proposals and contribute China's wisdom."

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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