6 Countries To Join BRICS From January 1 Next Year. They Are...

Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and will join Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa as full members of the BRICS bloc from January 1, 2024.

This is the first in-person BRICS meet since 2019, the start of the Covid pandemic.

New Delhi:

The BRICS grouping will invite six nations to become full members, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said this afternoon. These countries are Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and will join Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa, Mr Ramaphosa said, adding membership will take effect from January 1 next year.

"We have consensus on first phase of this BRICS expansion process," Mr Ramaphosa said in Johannesburg, "We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, to become full members..."

"The membership will take effect from the first of January, 2024," he said.

"We value the interests of other countries in building partnership with BRICS and have tasked our foreign ministers to further develop the BRICS partnership model and list of prospective countries (which want to join the grouping)," he added.

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Speaking immediately after Mr Ramaphosa's announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Johannesburg to attend the BRICS Summit, welcomed all six nations and vowed to work with the other nations to continue adding nations that express interest in joining.

"I take this opportunity to welcome these six nations to BRICS... and I congratulate the leaders and people of these nations. India has close ties, historic ties, with each of these countries and I believe we will work together for a new era of cooperation and prosperity."

Sources in India told news agency PTI India had taken the lead in forging consensus to select new members to add to BRICS. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister stressed India's full support for this as he presented suggestions to broaden cooperation among members.

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The suggestions included call for cooperation in space exploration, a call made hours after India became only the fourth nation - after the United States, China and Russia - to successfully soft land on the lunar surface.

"India fully supports the expansion of the BRICS membership and welcomes moving forward with consensus in this," the Prime Minister said as he also pitched for reform of multilateral financial institutions, the World Trade Organisation," he said.

BRICS expansion has been a major focus area at this summit and over 20 countries have already applied for full membership. Expansion calls were also backed by China President Xi Jinping, who said, "We need to... accelerate the BRICS expansion process... to pool our strengths (and) our wisdom to make global governance more just and equitable."

With input from PTI