BRICS Latest: Bloc Invites Six New Members, Open to Adding More

BRICS leaders invited top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and five other countries including Iran to join their bloc in a push to expand its global influence.

(Bloomberg) — BRICS leaders invited top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and five other countries including Iran to join their bloc in a push to expand its global influence.  

Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and United Arab Emirates will become full members on Jan. 1 said South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in a joint press conference of the BRICS leaders on Thursday at their annual summit in Johannesburg. The expansion was agreed by the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It will be the first expansion since 2010. 

An expansion of the group of emerging market powers could help boost its global heft and counter the dominance of the Group of Seven. The enlargement will see BRICS gross domestic product rise to 36% of global GDP at purchasing power parity and 46% of the world’s population, said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Indonesia Asks for BRICS Membership to be Deferred, Official Says  (10:31 a.m.)

Indonesia, which was among those expected to join the expanded bloc, asked for its membership to be deferred as they want to consult with their counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s ambassador to the bloc in an interview. It will possibly be admitted in the next couple of years, he said.

Xi Praises BRICS Expansion, Calls For Boosting Cooperation (10:10 a.m.)

Chinese President Xi Jinping said expansion of the BRICS is historic and new starting point for cooperation among developing nations that shows its determination to “unite and cooperate with” other developing nations.

BRICS Open to Adding More Members, India Premier Says (10:05 a.m.)

India will work with other BRICS aspirants to help join the group, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the joint press conference when welcoming the six new members.

More than two dozen nations had formally requested to join the bloc ahead of the summit. 

“India shares a long and historic relationship with the new members “ Modi said.

Putin Appears Virtually at BRICS Following Prigozhin Jet Crash (9:59 a.m.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the BRICS summit by video, one day after a plane crash that presumably killed the head of the mercenary Wagner Group.

Putin did not mention the crash involving Yevgeny Prigozhin which occurred exactly two months after the mercenary boss led a mutiny that challenged Putin’s almost 25-year rule.

“We will continue the work that we started today to expand the influence of BRICS in the world,” Putin said.

Use of Local Currencies to be Discussed at Next Summit (9:46 a.m.)

BRICS leaders tasked their finance ministers and central bank governors to consider the issue of local currencies, payment instruments and platforms and report back to the bloc at its next summit, said Ramaphosa.

–With assistance from Paul Vecchiatto and Amogelang Mbatha.

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