Russia plan: ‘state talks awaited’.
MINERAL Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says that the government will only respond to Russia’s proposal for the BRICS bloc to establish joint oil and gas refining facilities with Russia if Moscow makes a direct proposal.
Mantashe was responding to questions from the Daily News, enquiring about whether his department would consider its BRICS partner’s proposal aimed at meeting needs and making oil and gas easily accessible without relying on the Western powers.
According to Russian news agency Tass, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov this week called on the BRICS countries to create joint ventures for the processing of oil and gas without the participation of external “unreliable partners”.
Manturov invited the ministers of industry of the BRICS countries to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which was expected to be held in June.
“We are an institution and have a government that can deal with these issues at the state level. If we are approached at that level then we can engage Russia and not use the media as a platform to discuss such important issues. So if they want to talk to us they know what to do,” said Mantashe.
Alexander Arefiev, spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Pretoria, told the Daily News the Russian industry ministry would this week issue a media statement detailing Moscow’s plan.
Energy prices have gone up due to the Russia/Ukraine conflict which has seen Western-led sanctions being used to target the Russian government.
As the war continues to increase pressure on the system. some analysts have warned that the risk of disruption to supplies has not yet been fully priced in and a further run upwards might take place.
On Thursday last week, ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and South Africa met in a virtual sitting chaired by China.
In a joint statement issued by the leaders of the global south and their nation partners (BRICS), it was reiterated: “The BRICS countries shall continue to enhance the framework of intra-BRICS co-operation under the three pillars – political and security, economic and financial, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, to contain the spread and effects of the Covid-19 pandemic with solidarity, to speed up the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and to further broaden and deepen the co-operation amongst the BRICS countries.
“They recalled the adoption in 2021 by BRICS Sherpas (meeting) of the revised Terms of Reference for guiding BRICS engagement going forward on its working methods, the scope of engagement and the Chair’s mandate.”
Among other agreements, the ministers recalled their national positions concerning the situation in Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate forum, namely the UN Security Council.
“They supported talks between Russia and Ukraine. They also discussed their concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine and expressed their support to the efforts of the UN Secretary-General, and UN Agencies to provide humanitarian aid in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 46/182.”