Dozens of Nations Express Interest in Joining an Expanded BRICS

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File Photo: The BRICS leaders in 2019, from left to right: Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro, Narendra Modi and Cyril Ramaphosa [Photo Credit: Alan Santos / PR]

by Saurav Sarkar

Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s head official for relations with the BRICS group of nations, said on July 20 that almost 45 countries have expressed interest in joining the Global South bloc ahead of a summit scheduled for August 22-24, 2023, according to Reuters. Current members are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, which was the last to join in 2010. Sooklal said that 22 countries had put in formal applications.

The BRICS conference is expected to address the issue of new applicants. The bloc, which has over 40 percent of the world’s population and around 30 percent of the world’s GDP, is attempting to become a major geopolitical rival to the West and its financial institutions, the IMF and the World Bank. It sees itself as a bulwark of the Global South.

The summit has already faced controversy. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin committed war crimes during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. South Africa is a signatory to the ICC, and the country would be obligated to arrest Putin if he set foot on South African soil, where the conference will be held.

This would be tantamount to a declaration of “war,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said to the ICC of the summit host country’s dilemma, according to Reuters. However, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov now set to attend instead, with Putin participating via videoconference, the issue has become moot.

Several countries, including Iran, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, met with BRICS officials in early June as “Friends of BRICS” in the lead-up to expansion talks, reported Reuters.

Author Bio: Saurav Sarkar is a freelance writer and editor who covers political activism and labor movements. They live in Long Island, New York, and have also lived in New York City, New Delhi, London, and Washington, D.C. Follow them on Twitter @sauravthewriter and at sauravsarkar.com.

Credit Line: from the Globetrotter News Service

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