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BRICS Emergency Summit: China Calls for International Conference

President Ramaphosa. Credit: GCIS

Today leaders of the five BRICS member nations and of the six nations invited to become members, effective in January 2024, met for an emergency video summit on the Palestine-Israel crisis, chaired by South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa. He called the extraordinary meeting yesterday, and today issued a chairman’s summary afterward, saying that there was not time for the group to formulate and issue a joint declaration. But many national leaders spoke out individually, with strong points of emphasis. President Xi Jinping reiterated the call China made in October for an international conference to deal with the Palestine-Israel crisis.

The 11 participating nations were Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Argentina.

Xi said, in a statement released by the Foreign Ministry today: “China calls for early convening of an international peace conference that is more authoritative to build international consensus for peace and work toward an early solution to the question of Palestine that is comprehensive, just and sustainable.” He preceded his call with a list of three principles to deal with the conflict:

“First, the parties to the conflict must end hostilities and achieve a ceasefire immediately, stop all violence and attacks against civilians, release civilians held captive, and act to prevent loss of more lives and spare people from more miseries. Second, humanitarian corridors must be kept secure and unimpeded, and more humanitarian assistance should be provided to the population in Gaza. The collective punishment of people in Gaza in the form of forced transfer or water, electricity and fuel deprivation must stop. Third, the international community must act with practical measures to prevent the conflict from spilling over and endangering stability in the Middle East as a whole.”

The comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as those of President Xi, were strong on getting fast action, on the BRICS playing a key role, and on dealing with underlying causes. Putin said, “We urge the international community to join efforts aimed at de-escalating the situation, negotiating a ceasefire and achieving a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The BRICS states and the countries in the region could play a key role in this work.”

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