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BRICS has invited Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to join its emerging markets bloc, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

Speaking at the conclusion of the BRICS summit, Ramaphosa said the countries would join the BRICS bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa early next year as the leader of the forum’s “first phase of the enlargement process” in Johannesburg people.

He added that “we value the interest of other countries in forming partnerships with the BRICS” with other expansions to come in the future after the core countries agree on membership criteria.

The BRIC expansion, the first since South Africa joined in 2010, would represent a victory for China, which has pushed for a rapid expansion ahead of the summit to create a stronger rival to the G7 of advanced economies .

Iran and Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer outside the United States, were also added to the first batch of Middle Eastern BRICS members after Beijing brokered the normalization of relations between Riyadh and Tehran this year.

India has been reluctant to expand the size of BRICS, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed support for creating new members on a consensus basis.

The six new countries include some of New Delhi’s own strategic defense partners, such as the UAE and Egypt. Modi said: “The addition of new members will further enhance the strength of the BRICS countries and inject new impetus into them.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed the new members and called on the EU to deepen economic ties, including a common currency and new economic settlement mechanisms. “I want to assure all my colleagues that we will continue what we started – to expand the influence of the BRICS countries in the world,” Putin said by video link from the Kremlin.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said the new membership would increase BRIC’s share of global gross domestic product from 32 percent in purchasing power parity to 37 percent.

Following Ramaphosa’s announcement, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “We respect the vision of the leaders of the BRICS countries and appreciate the UAE’s leadership in this important organization. member.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said he looked forward to working with the BRICS countries “to achieve the goal of strengthening economic cooperation between us and raising the voice of the global South”.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hailed the BRIC invitation as a “great moment” for the East African nation, while Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said the BRIC membership would “enhance” his s country.

But Patricia Burridge, a right-wing League candidate for Argentina’s upcoming presidential election, said she opposed the move because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. “We believe in an international order based on the rules for maintaining peace,” she said.

Ramaphosa said the BRIC leaders also tasked finance ministers and central bank governors with taking steps to reduce their economies’ reliance on the dollar for trade and to report back next year.

“There is strong global momentum in the use of local currencies, alternative financial arrangements and alternative payment systems,” he said.

The promise of greater use of local currencies fell short of the anti-dollar rhetoric that preceded the summit, such as Brazil’s Lula who floated the idea of ​​a BRICS common currency as a trading unit.

Supplementary report by Max Riga’s Seddon, Cairo’s Herba Saleh, Lima’s Andrés Schipani and Buenos Aires’ Ciara Nugent

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