India, Russia, China, Brazil agree to broaden cooperation

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Yekaterinburg/Moscow, May 16 (UNI) Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) today agreed to broaden cooperation within the quadrilateral format.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee met his Russian, Chinese and Brazilian counterparts-- Mr Sergei Lavrov, Mr Yang Jiechi and Mr Celso Amorim-- in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

''All sides are interested in broadening the agenda of our meetings,'' Mr Lavrov told mediapersons after the meeting.

Mr Lavrov said the ''common approach'' of Russia, Brazil, India and China was reflected in a joint communique adopted at the meeting.

He said the next meeting of the BRIC Foreign Ministers would be held on the sidelines of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, and the ''second stand-alone meeting'' in India, in 2009.

Mr Lavrov said the sides also agreed to have a meeting of finance and economics ministers of the BRIC countries.

He said the conference of universities of St Petersburg, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai and Qingdao will be held in St Petersburg at the end of May.

The Russian minister stressed that Russia attached great importance to cooperation in this format that is prompted by the ''weight of these countries'' in world politics and economy, pointing out that ''over half of the population of the globe lives in these four countries.'' The term BRIC was first used in 2003 in a thesis published by the Goldman Sachs investment bank that named Brazil, Russia, India and China as the most rapidly developing economies in the world.

According to the thesis, by the year 2050, BRIC will overtake the present richest countries in the world. The overall gold and currency reserves of the four BRIC countries were estimated at over 1.3 trillion dollars.

The first meeting of BRIC took place in 2006 in New York, within the framework of the UN General Assembly session.

UNI XC SKB GC1712

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