Aug. 24, 2024 (EIRNS)—At a press conference held early this morning in Johannesburg, attended by four leaders of BRICS nations—China’s President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov—India’s Modi announced that leaders of the five member nations had agreed by consensus to welcome six new nations to become full-fledged members of the BRICS: Argentina, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). Their membership will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. Notably, Modi and Xi were seen chatting as they walked into the room together and had a brief bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit.
In his remarks, Modi announced that the group had agreed on “the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures for expansion of the BRICS” and emphasized that the modernization and expansion of the BRICS should serve as a model for all global institutions that need to reform in changing times. India has always favored expansion of the BRICS, he said, underscoring that this new expansion will provide energy and direction to the group. After extending a welcome to the six new members, he added that for other countries that had expressed interest in joining the BRICS, India will work to build a consensus so that these nations can participate in BRICS “as partner countries” which will be discussed at the next BRICS summit in Kazan, Russia in October 2024.
Xi Jinping told reporters that the five members “unanimously agreed” to invite the six new nations to join, and called the expansion “historic,” as it shows BRICS’ determination to pursue “unity and cooperation” with the broader Global South. The expansion represents a new starting point for BRICS cooperation, he said. It will bring “new vigor” to the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen motion toward world peace and development. “As long as we work together,” he added, “there’s a lot that BRICS cooperation can achieve, and the future will be bright.”
In his remarks, Brazil’s Lula da Silva stated that “the relevance of the BRICs is confirmed by the growing number of countries interested in joining the BRICS. Brazil welcomes with great satisfaction” the six nations as new members of the BRICS, he said. He also extended warm congratulations to “my dear friend,” Argentine President Alberto Fernández, “a great friend of Brazil and of the developing world.” He observed that “many said that BRICS were too different to shape a common vision. But experience demonstrates the opposite. Our diversity strengthens the fight for a new order which accommodates the economic, geographical and political plurality of the 21st century.”
Lula also reported that the BRICS had set up a working group to study the adoption of a reference currency that could be used for transactions among member countries. He said that is “could increase our payment options and reduce our vulnerabilities.” Brazilian magazine Época quoted the President as saying that “in this world in transition, the BRICS offer us a source of creative solutions to the challenges we face.” He called for even greater expansion of the group in the near future.