BRICs not mulling direct aid to Europe

By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Large developing economies did not debate offering direct aid to crisis-gripped Europe despite a Brazilian proposal to that effect, South Africa's finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, said on Thursday.

"It didn't go that far," Gordhan told Reuters on the sidelines of an International Monetary Fund meeting.

Brazil said earlier this month the government would propose that it and other large emerging economies make billions of dollars in new funds available to the International Monetary Fund as a way to help ease the debt crisis in the euro zone.

Brazil could make up to $10 billion of its own money available to help Europe through various channels, including the IMF or by making bond purchases, one official said.

But the idea appears not to have gained much traction here in Washington.

Gordhan said the BRICS group of countries -- also including Russia, India and China -- were more focused on strengthening traditional channels of lending, such as the IMF itself, than creating a separate facility for supporting Europe.

Asked about the possibility of a Greek default or a break-up in the euro zone, Gordhan said:

"The BRICS' approach is that we would wish that the situation doesn't get to that point," he said. "We would wish that the European authorities would be decisive and act with a greater sense of urgency.

"We would play whatever supportive role we can play within the context of the G20, firstly in making sure that we make the right decisions, and secondly in making sure that if we need to improve the resources of the IMF according to our individual abilities we make a contribution to that," he added.

In a communique issued following their meeting, the BRICS countries called for decisive actions on the troubles affecting industrialized economies, but said they would consider providing additional funds to multilateral lenders.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)