Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE Among New Entrants to BRICS

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The BRICS bloc, which consists of China, Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa, has announced the admission of six new countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia, Egypt, and Argentina. This move is aimed at reshuffling what the group perceives as an outdated world order and leveling the global playing field for developing nations.

The expansion of BRICS adds economic strength to the bloc, which already includes the world’s second-largest economy, China. It also aligns with the group’s goal of becoming a champion of the Global South. The admission of Saudi Arabia and UAE, both oil powers, highlights their increasing drift away from the United States’ influence and their ambition to establish themselves as global heavyweights.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, a strong advocate for enlargement, described the membership expansion as historic, demonstrating the determination of BRICS countries to collaborate with developing nations worldwide. The bloc, originally an informal club formed by four nations in 2009, later added South Africa in its only previous expansion.

The six new countries will officially become members on January 1, 2024, according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who made the announcement during the leaders’ summit in Johannesburg. This integral step sets the stage for future enlargements, potentially welcoming dozens more countries seeking to address the perceived imbalance in the global order.

However, challenges may arise within the bloc due to differing perspectives on the role of BRICS. Some members, such as China and Russia, aim to counterbalance Western dominance, while others maintain close ties with the United States and Europe.

Ramaphosa expressed his optimism about the expansion process, calling it a new chapter in building a fair, just, inclusive, and prosperous world. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi applauded his country’s invitation to join BRICS, implicitly criticizing the United States’ unilateral approach. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister also expressed appreciation for the invitation, recognizing BRICS as a beneficial and important platform for strengthening economic cooperation.

The admission of these new countries not only amplifies BRICS’ influence but also signifies a transformative shift in global dynamics. As BRICS continues to embrace new members, it reinforces its commitment to creating a more equitable and cooperative international order.

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