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Extraordinary BRICS summit

November 21, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin took part in an extraordinary BRICS summit on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, held via videoconference.

The extraordinary BRICS summit on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (held via videoconference) was attended by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Luiz Lula da Silva, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, and Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

The states invited to join the association were represented at the summit by President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Argentine Republic Santiago Andres Cafiero.

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Speech by the President of Russia

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Ramaphosa, colleagues, friends,

We think the initiative of the President of South Africa, as the current chair of  BRICS, to convene an extraordinary summit to discuss the escalation in the Gaza Strip, has come at the right time.

The thousands of deaths and mass expulsion of civilians, the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the area are causing deep concern. Just now, one of our colleagues spoke of the deaths of a large number of children. It is terrible, but when you watch children being operated on without anaesthesia, it certainly evokes intense feelings. And all of that is, in fact, happening as a consequence of the United States’ aspiration to monopolise the mediation role in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement process and block the activities of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators.

This is history’s way of demonstrating that attempts to single-handedly cut the “Palestinian knot” are unviable and counterproductive. Because of the sabotage of UN decisions, which clearly called for the establishment and peaceful coexistence of two independent and sovereign states – Israel and Palestine – more than one generation of Palestinians has grown up in an atmosphere of injustice, and Israelis cannot fully guarantee the security of their state either.

Russia's stance is consistent and independent of momentary conditions. 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.

For this reason, it is particularly significant that our colleagues from Middle Eastern countries, which received invitations to become full members of the BRICS this year, are joining our meeting today. I would like to take this opportunity to respectfully acknowledge their efforts to normalise the situation. In particular, I am referring to the Peace Summit hosted by Egypt and the joint Arab-Islamic extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia.

It is worth noting that all BRICS countries have similar positions on the need to collectively reach long-term and durable settlement of the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli problem.

This was reflected during voting on the draft resolution on a humanitarian truce in the UN General Assembly and in discussing a UN Security Council resolution on the Middle East settlement process, which was adopted for the first time in the past seven years. Although this resolution contains merely an appeal for humanitarian pauses rather than a full ceasefire, we consider the very fact of its approval a step in the right direction.

I would like to emphasise that such humanitarian pauses and, better still, a full ceasefire are essential to continue the efforts to free hostages and evacuate civilians and foreigners from the Gaza Strip. I must express again my deep gratitude to President [of Egypt Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi, and all our Egyptian colleagues for their help in resolving many challenging issues linked with receiving and sending home the Russian citizens that had left the conflict area.

Of course, by all accounts, the most urgent goal is to reach a truly long-term and sustainable truce. I agree with my Brazilian colleague that it is important that other states not get drawn into a war in the Middle East and that the conflict not spread in any way, as is preserving the fragile peace between religions.

In this context, we consider it extremely useful to continue discussing subsequent developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in BRICS. If there are no objections, colleagues, we will initiate possible contacts, including via videoconference, concerning these issues during Russia’s upcoming BRICS presidency next year.

In general, the new format of emergency online summit meetings suggested by President [of South Africa Cyril] Ramaphosa appears to be quite promising. Importantly, this applies not only to the Middle East settlement but to other urgent global and regional issues.

Thank you for your attention.

November 21, 2023, The Kremlin, Moscow