The BRICS reached consensus on the expansion process; may include Saudi Arabia, Argentina: China

China said Friday (May 27) that the foreign ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) had “reached consensus on its expansion process and agreed to include new developing countries. Beijing holds a rotating presidency of the BRICS bloc this year, and its foreign ministry said on Friday it actively supports the expansion of the five-member group. The remark comes just a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saudi Arabia and Argentina had expressed interest in joining the group.

The virtual meeting of BRICS foreign ministers on May 19 included the foreign ministers of Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria , Senegal and Thailand, who also received an official invitation. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar also took part in the meeting of BRICS foreign ministers convened by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. The New Development Bank (NDB) of the BRICS has already registered Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Uruguay as official members.

Moscow Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told CASS that oil-rich countries in the Arab world have shown interest in joining the BRICS and establishing partnership relations with the eight-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes India, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

“China will work on BRICS-related parties to continue to have in-depth discussions on BRICS expansion and determine norms and procedures for it based on consensus,” the ministry spokesperson said. Beijing Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, at the conference.

“We look forward to other like-minded partners joining the great BRICS family,” he added.

Interest in BRICS shown by ‘our Saudi friends and Argentina’: Russian Foreign Minister

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by state-affiliated TASS that interest in the BRICS had been shown by “our Saudi friends and Argentina, who declared the desire to become a full member of the BRICS, coming from the mouth of its (Argentinian) Minister of Foreign Affairs, Santiago Cafiero. Lavrov said that preparations are underway to organize the next summit and that the format of Awareness raising will be established within its framework.More than a dozen developing economies will take part in it, the Russian Foreign Minister said.

Confirming Lavrov’s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said BRICS foreign ministers, including India, have reached consensus on the BRICS expansion process.

“As BRICS chairperson this year, China actively supports the launch of the BRICS expansion process and expands ‘BRICS Plus’ cooperation,” Wenbin said at a press briefing. He reiterated that BRICS cooperation is “open and inclusive”.

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