The BRICS group of nations decided at a summit this week in Johannesburg to invite six countries – Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – to become new members of the bloc, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday. BRICS membership of new countries will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, said Ramaphosa. Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) have agreed to expand their group, which would be the first expansion since 2010. UAE President Mohamed Bin Zayed praised the decision to include his country in BRICS.
In a statement, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi thanked BRICS leaders for inviting his country to join the group, vowing to work with other members for the benefit of developing countries.“We look forward to coordinate with BRICS to achieve the group’s goals in supporting economic cooperation and raise the voice of countries in the south regarding different challenges that we face,” he said.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali hailed his country’s accession to the bloc as a ‘great moment’ for his country. “Ethiopia stands ready to cooperate with all for an inclusive and prosperous global order,” he said.A senior adviser to Iran’s president on Thursday hailed the country’s forthcoming admission to the BRICS grouping as a triumph of diplomacy for the Islamic republic. Thursday’s announcement came amid intensified diplomacy by Iran to reduce its isolation, improve its economy and offset the impact of crippling sanctions reimposed after the 2018 withdrawal of the United States from a landmark nuclear deal. “Permanent membership in the group of global emerging economies is considered a historic development and a strategic success for the foreign policy of the Islamic republic,” Mohammad Jamshidi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The expansion could also pave the way for dozens of interested countries seeking admission to BRICS at a time when geopolitical polarization is spurring efforts by Beijing and Moscow to forge it into a viable counterweight to the West. Brazil’s President Luiz Lula da Silva, who joined the Johannesburg summit, said that Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Ethiopia and the UAE have all shown interest to join BRICS. Russia’s Vladimir Putin hailed BRICS membership expansion and said work with new members should start immediately. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi meanwhile said the new members to BRICS will further strengthen and give shared efforts a new impetus.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said BRICS are all nations with important influence, shouldering important responsibilities for world peace and development. The debate over enlargement has topped the agenda at the three-day summit taking place in Johannesburg. And while all BRICS members publicly expressed support for growing the bloc, there were divisions among the leaders over how much and how quickly. Though home to about 40 percent of the world’s population and a quarter of global gross domestic product, BRICS members’ failure to settle on a coherent vision for the bloc has long left it punching below its weight as a global political and economic player. More than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining BRICS, say South African officials, and 22 have formally asked to be admitted. They represent a disparate pool of potential candidates motivated largely by a desire to level a global playing field many consider rigged against them and attracted by BRICS’ promise to rebalance the global order.
Credit: Independent News Pakistan (INP)