Saudi FM Prince Faisal meets India’s Jaishankar at BRICS meeting in South Africa

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Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister met his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the ‘Friends of BRICS’ meeting of diplomats in Cape Town on Thursday.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Dr. S. Jaishankar discussed enhancing bilateral ties and coordination on regional and international “issues of common concern,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

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“The two ministers discussed the importance of intensifying joint efforts with regard to laying the foundations for international peace and security, and enhancing the contribution to achieving the goals of sustainable development,” the report added.

Jaishankar said on social media following the meeting: “So nice to see FM HH Prince @FaisalbinFarhan of Saudi Arabia. A productive exchange of views on the global situation. Look forward to advancing bilateral cooperation through the Strategic Partnership Council.”

Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner, according to the report by the Indian Embassy. More than 18 percent of India’s crude oil imports are reportedly sourced from Saudi Arabia with bilateral trade in FY22 (April to December) valued at $29.28 billion.

The two countries enjoy strong bilateral trade and friendly foreign relations that date as far back as 1947.

Both the Saudi and Indian ministers also met with their Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

Foreign ministers from Brazil, Russia and South Africa are also in attendance at the BRICS summit. Saudi Arabia is one of few countries who reportedly have expressed an interest in joining the group.

Venezuela, Argentina, Iran, Algeria, and the United Arab Emirates are also on the list of those who have either formally applied to join or expressed interest, Reuters reported.

The talks are a prelude to an August summit in Johannesburg that has already created controversy because of the possible attendance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the target of an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant.

Once viewed as a loose, largely symbolic association of disparate emerging economies, BRICS has in recent years taken more concrete shape, driven initially by Beijing and, since the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022, with added impetus from Moscow.

Amid the growing geopolitical polarization resulting from the war in Ukraine, BRICS leaders have said they are open to admitting new members, including oil producing countries.

With Reuters

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