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BRIC countries push to achieve greater clout in world affairs

THE leaders of the world's biggest emerging markets demanded a greater say in the global financial system at their first summit yesterday but steered clear of any assault on the US dollar's dominance.

The summit - attended by Brazil, Russia, India and China - ended with a short statement by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and a communique that demanded more power for developing nations in international financial institutions and the United Nations.

But it did not mention two key Moscow initiatives - a smaller role for the US dollar and a supranational reserve currency.

"We are committed to advance the reform of international financial institutions, so as to reflect changes in the world economy," a joint communique issued by the BRIC countries said.

"The emerging and developing economies must have a greater voice and representation in international financial institutions," it said. "We also believe that there is a strong need for a stable, predictable and more diversified international monetary system."

Transparency call

A reformed financial and economic architecture should be based on "democratic and transparent decision making and implementation process at the international financial organizations," the statement said.

The BRIC nations urged the international community to keep the multilateral trading system stable and curb trade protectionism, and they stressed a commitment to "advance the reform of international financial institutions to reflect changes in the world economy."

The document called for broader cooperation in the energy sphere, diversifying energy resources and energy transit routes.

It also underlined support for a "more democratic and just multipolar world order based on the rule of international law, equality, mutual respect, cooperation, coordinated action and collective decision making of all states."

Dollar dives

In the run-up to the summit, Russia had argued that reserve currencies would be discussed at the session and that the world needed more reserve currencies, including widened International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights.

The US dollar slid yesterday on Russia's comments, which came a day after Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said the dollar's status as the world's main reserve currency would be unlikely to change in the near term.

"The existing set of reserve currencies, including the US dollar, have failed to perform their functions," President Dmitry Medvedev told a news conference in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, ahead of the BRIC summit.

"We will not do without additional reserve currencies," Medvedev said, adding that a new supranational reserve currency was also an option as the IMF's SDRs gained a bigger role.


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