Politics, World

Nearly 20 countries want to join BRICS, says senior Russian diplomat

Discussions continue on devising criteria for joining BRICS, says Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov

Elena Teslova  | 15.06.2023 - Update : 15.06.2023
Nearly 20 countries want to join BRICS, says senior Russian diplomat Sergey Ryabkov ( Dmitri Chirciu - Anadolu Agency )


About 20 countries want to join BRICS economic bloc, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday.

The increasing number of states seeking cooperation with BRICS, an acronym for current members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, shows the importance of this format in the global arena, Ryabkov told Russian state-run TASS news agency.

"Discussions continue on what could be the criteria for joining BRICS, and South Africa has intensified this work," he said, adding that an in-depth conversation on this subject took place at a meeting of BRICS foreign ministers in Cape Town in early June and that additional contacts are expected to take place before the summit of BRICS leaders in August.

The senior diplomat said that South Africa’s accession to the bloc was a "successful experience," recalling that the decision was made based on the agreement of other participants.

"I think that strong candidates … can turn to this experience too, predicting for themselves what can and cannot happen," he said.

Ryabkov urged other BRICS participants to be "open" while deciding on taking new members, noting that Russia favors the idea of taking Arab and Asia-Pacific countries as the economic bloc "lacks" their representation.

Asked if South Africa will guarantee immunity to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the BRICS leaders’ summit scheduled for August, as the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him, Ryabkov said Moscow considers this document "legally insignificant, provocative and categorically unacceptable."

"We expect that, as the host country of the BRICS summit, South Africa will definitely be guided by the understanding that top officials enjoy absolute jurisdictional immunity from prosecution," Ryabkov said.

"We have sent the relevant signals to South Africa and we expect that this is the way everything will be organized in terms of the summit and the Russian leadership’s participation," he added.

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