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Speech by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez at the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

His Excellency Sergei Victorovich Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation,
Your Excellencies, Ministers of Foreign Affairs,
Distinguished heads of delegations and delegates:

On behalf of the Cuban government and people, I thank you for the invitation to my country to participate in this important Meeting of Foreign Ministers, which is being held under the hospitable chairmanship of the Russian Federation. Likewise, I wish to congratulate Ethiopia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Iran on their incorporation as full members of the BRICS, as of January 1.

With this necessary and strategic expansion, the Group represents more than 45% of the world’s population and a third of the planet’s GDP. It is consolidating its position as a key player in global geopolitics, with growing relevance on a planetary scale and hope for the countries of the South in the construction of a fairer, more equitable and sustainable multilateral international order.

The world is in need of a new civilized coexistence where solidarity, cooperation and integration among States prevail. The BRICS can contribute significantly to this historic claim of the South, especially on the path towards the necessary reform of the current international financial system, which is profoundly unjust, undemocratic, speculative, and unjust.

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In order to deal more effectively with the current world food crisis, the contribution of the BRICS to agricultural development and food production, whose practices and experiences are valid references for other nations, is significant, as is also the case with the use and generation of renewable energies in development projects, a matter of vital importance for the nations of the South. The promotion of cooperation in this area would contribute to the development of cleaner and more durable generation matrices, would provide stability to a sector that is so sensitive for development and would contribute to the fight against climate change.

The New Development Bank of the BRICS is a strength for the projects that this Group has proposed to develop to have an indigenous financial backing, based on the use of their own national currencies.

It is also an important alternative and opportunity for the nations of the South, which will allow them to access financial resources under favorable conditions. The expansion of the NDB’s membership would enhance its international influence and help mobilize financing in key areas for the development of the countries of the South.

The BRICS initiative to put in place a broad-based foreign currency reserve mechanism to ensure certainty and stability for the South, as well as the establishment of mutual lines of credit in local currencies, is an important step forward for the South.

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With its extension to other countries, this process would contribute to alleviate the imbalances of the current monetary system, which maintains the U.S. dollar as an instrument of pressure and as a weapon to impose unilateral coercive measures that have a very negative impact on the economy of many of our peoples.

Distinguished Ministers and delegates:

For decades, Cuba has maintained excellent relations with the founding members of the BRICS and with those who recently joined the Group, as well as with all the countries invited to this important meeting, here present.

I welcome and support the BRICS call for the cessation of the genocide in Palestine and the exercise of the inalienable rights of its people, including having their own State in the pre-1967 borders and with its capital in East Jerusalem, as well as the return of the refugees.

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We call for the cessation of unilateral coercive measures against Russia and NATO actions to fuel the conflict.

I reiterate Cuba’s determination to evaluate all possible avenues for a closer relationship with the BRICS, in search of mutual benefits, including the possibility of becoming a Partner State of the group.

Cuba is happily inserted in far-reaching initiatives promoted by member countries of the Group, such as the cases of the Belt and Road and other global Chinese initiatives and the projects of the Eurasian Economic Union as an Observer member.

Likewise, we maintain bilateral ties in important areas that will contribute to achieving our objectives set forth in the National Economic and Social Development Plan and in the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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We are a small island developing state that has resisted and resists for more than 60 years a fierce economic, commercial and financial blockade, which has intensified in recent years to unprecedented levels, and has a very negative impact on every sector of Cuban society and causes humanitarian damage and shortages and suffering to our noble people, who do not renounce their dreams of peace, social justice and development.

In this endeavor, we are grateful for the permanent support and solidarity of the countries present here and of the entire international community.

From this rostrum, I would like to reiterate Cuba’s willingness to share with the BRICS its modest experiences and results in the fields of the medical, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry, health, education, science, among other sectors for the benefit of our peoples and all those of the South.

We agree with the BRICS on the importance and need to continue strengthening integration and cooperation, based on multilateralism and respect for diversity, in pursuit of an international order based on the sovereign equality of States, fair, democratic and equitable.

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We reiterate to the Russian Federation our best wishes for success during its pro tempore presidency of the BRICS and in the celebration of its XVI Summit, which will take place on October 22-24, 2024 in Kazan.

Muchas gracias.

(Translation of the speech by Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez at the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting)

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