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BRICS group considers joining Iran and Saudi Arabia

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The BRICS group is preparing to decide at its conference this year on the membership of new countries wishing to join the group, which includes Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa.

Bloomberg reported that South African delegate to the group Anil Soklal confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Iran are among the countries that have officially applied to join the group.

A Bloomberg report indicated that the expansion of the group could be beneficial to China, which is seeking to strengthen its position in the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international organizations, and indicated that China last year spoke about the expansion of the group.

The agency notes that China’s gross domestic product is more than double the total output of the rest of the BRICS members.

Anil Soklal said that the proposal to expand the BRICS will be one of the main points of the economic bloc this year under South Africa’s chairmanship of the group.

He added: “More than 12 countries knocked on the door of the group. We are at a very advanced stage of considering membership in another group of countries.”

The report notes that possible changes in the BRICS group come at a time when European and North American countries are seeking to strengthen alliances, form new blocs, and sign agreements on trade and security.

While the BRICS countries represent 42 percent of the world’s population, their members have less than 15 percent of voting rights in, say, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Bloomberg said that the members of the group established a “New Development Bank”, similar to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and later Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates joined this bank, and Egypt and Uruguay are expected to join soon.

Other countries that have expressed interest in joining the BRICS group include Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain and Indonesia, as well as two countries from East Africa and one from West Africa.

The creation of BRICS was announced in 2006 by the first four BRIC countries during the summit of foreign ministers of Brazil, Russia, India and China in New York in September 2006 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Member states are linking banking and foreign exchange agreements to exchange currencies and are increasing trade in local currencies to reduce reliance on the dollar.

Source: Bloomberg Agency.

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