UAE and Saudi Arabia among six countries invited to join Brics

President Sheikh Mohamed praises move and says Emirates looks forward to 'a continued commitment of co-operation'

UAE and Saudi Arabia among six countries invited to join Brics

UAE and Saudi Arabia among six countries invited to join Brics
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The Brics group of nations has invited the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia and Argentina to join the bloc, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

The debate over expanding the membership of the bloc, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has topped the agenda at a three-day summit in Johannesburg, which concludes on Thursday.

While all Brics members have expressed support for expanding the bloc, leaders are divided over procedures for expansion and how quickly membership should be enlarged.

We respect the vision of the Brics leadership and appreciate the inclusion of the UAE as a member to this important group
President Sheikh Mohamed

“Brics has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

He said the new members would be formally admitted on January 1.

President Sheikh Mohamed has praised the move.

“We respect the vision of the Brics leadership and appreciate the inclusion of the UAE as a member to this important group,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“We look forward to a continued commitment of co-operation for the prosperity, dignity and benefit of all nations and people around the world.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country had “always fully supported the expansion of Brics”.

“India has always believed the addition of new members will further strengthen Brics as an organisation and give our shared efforts a new impetus.

“This will also strengthen the belief of many countries in the world in a multipolar world order. I am pleased our teams have together agreed on guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures for the expansion.”

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister told Al Arabiya TV on Thursday that the kingdom appreciated the invitation by Brics to join the group and would study the details before the proposed January 1 joining date and take “the appropriate decision”.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan said Brics was “a beneficial and important channel” to strengthen economic co-operation.

Earlier in the day, Prince Faisal said the kingdom was looking forward to closer co-operation with Brics member states.

“The kingdom is keen to exercise its responsibilities to sustain international co-operation,” he said.

Riyadh is “moving forward achieving the goals of sustainable development” and working to stabilise energy markets, he added.

Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the invitation confirmed the country's “growing role in the global economy” and in a more inclusive system that “takes into account the interests of emerging economies in the global south”, the ministry's spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said on X.

An expanded Brics, which was formed in 2009, would add more major oil producers to the bloc and boost its economic clout.

China and Russia have also pushed for its expansion in an effort to counter western powers.

The addition of its more members may also give it more sway in world affairs and may lead to a different type of global economy.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's deputy chief of staff for political affairs, Mohammed Jamshidi, said the decision was a “strategic success” and a historic development for Iranian foreign policy.

Mr Raisi is in South Africa for the summit but has yet to comment on the decision. South Africa is an ally of Iran and is its largest trading partner on the continent.

Mr Raisi has recently undertaken trips to other African nations to forge closer ties.

A report from Iran's state-run Irna outlet voiced hopes the decision may benefit sanction-hit Tehran through access to the New Development Bank, which offers an alternative to the Swift payment system.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the decision to admit the six nations had been unanimous.

“Brics countries are all countries with important influence and shoulder important responsibilities for world peace and development,” he said.

“This membership expansion is historic. It shows the determination of Brics countries for unity and co-operation with the broader developing countries.”

The expansion is a “new starting point” for Brics co-operation and will bring new vigour to the bloc, the Chinese leader said.

“I am confident, as long as we work with a common purpose, there is a lot Brics co-operation can achieve and the future will be bright for Brics countries.”

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said Cairo looked forward to “raising the voices” of countries in the Global South.

“I appreciate Egypt being invited to join Brics and look forward to coordinating with the group to achieve its goals in supporting economic co-operation,” he said.

Ethiopia hailed the decision as a “great move” for the country while Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Brics needed to increase co-operation amid the threat of nuclear conflict.

“It is time to revitalise co-operation with developing countries as there is a risk of nuclear war,” he said after the announcement.

Updated: August 24, 2023, 3:13 PM