President Alberto Fernández on Friday asked the BRICS group of emerging economies to incorporate Argentina as a full member as he joined the bloc's 14th summit via videoconference.
The Peronist leader said Argentina wanted to join talks over "an agenda for the future" and used his platform to call for changes in the way in which the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are allocated.
"We are honoured by the invitation to this expanded BRICS meeting. We aspire to become full members of this group of nations that already represents 42 percent of the world's population and 24 percent of the global gross domestic product," said the president.
The BRICS members, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, account for over 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world's gross domestic product.
Participating virtually in the summit, Argentina's head of state said Friday that the group "constitutes a platform with enormous capacities to discuss and implement an agenda for the future that will lead to a better and fairer time."
"Argentina wants to join this space and offer its contributions as a member of it," insisted the president.
In addition to the countries that give their name to the bloc, also taking part in the meeting were the leaders of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune; of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi; of Indonesia, Joko Widodo; of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev; of Senegal, Macky Sall; of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev; of Cambodia, Hun Sen; of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali; of Fiji, Josaia Qoreque Bainimarama; of Malaysia, Ismail Sabri Yaakob; and of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-Cha.
Before the heads of state, Fernández asked members to "agree on a common agenda" that would allow this group of countries to convey their "concerns more effectively at the next G20 meeting," set to be held in Indonesia next November.
He also stressed that "the institutional and economic weight of the BRICS can become a factor of financial stability" and considered that "the expansion of [the bloc's] New Development Bank can be a useful instrument to strengthen national infrastructures."
"It is time to explore cooperation mechanisms, such as the currency swap that Argentina signed with China," continued the president. "It is time to promote the creation of an International Risk Rating Agency, which would put in public hands what today is in the hands of private interests."
Addressing IMF reform, Argentina's leader called for a "debating [of] the guidelines that determine the general allocation of Special Drawing Rights," describing them as "essential tools" for the "necessary capitalisation of regional development banks."
War in Ukraine
In a statement issued at the end of the two-day summit, which has been held against the backdrop of Russia's war in Ukraine, the BRICS nations called for new talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
Three members – China, India and South Africa – have abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution condemning Russia's invasion, and President Vladimir Putin has urged them to snub Western countries appalled by the attack on a European neighbour.
The five countries said in a declaration issued late Thursday that they "support talks between Russia and Ukraine" but did not lay out a pathway towards ending the war.
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The countries said they had "discussed our concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine" and expressed support for international agencies "to provide humanitarian assistance."
The United States and the European Union have slapped Russia with a barrage of sanctions since it invaded Ukraine on February 24. But China and India have attempted to stay above the fray, wary of damaging strong military and commercial links with Moscow.
South Africa, one of the few African countries wielding diplomatic influence outside the continent, has also refused to condemn Russia to safeguard important economic ties.
China and Russia have also touted a "no-limits" partnership with President Xi Jinping last week sending Putin a message of support on "sovereignty and security" issues.
The Russian President on Thursday called on BRICS leaders to work together to offset "selfish actions" from the West and push for a "truly multipolar system of inter-government relations."
Xi said Wednesday on the eve of the forum that the "Ukraine crisis is... a wake-up call" and branded sanctions a "boomerang and a double-edged sword."
Addressing the conflict in his own speech, President Fernández said it is "imperative that the hostilities in Ukraine cease."
"We want to be part of the search for a solution that brings all those involved closer together, in order to achieve a lasting peace that definitively leaves behind the dynamics unleashed by the escalation of war," said the Argentine leader.