19 countries ask to join BRICS as it prepares to hold annual summit

BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS mechanism aims to promote peace, security, development and cooperation.

Nineteen countries expressed an interest in joining the BRICS group of nations as it prepares to hold an annual summit in South Africa, Reuters reported.

Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s ambassador to the group, said in an interview in the city on Monday that the emerging-markets bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will meet in Cape Town on June 2-3 to discuss its enlargement.

“What will be discussed is the expansion of BRICS and the modalities of how this will happen,” he was quoted as saying. “Thirteen countries have formally asked to join and another six have asked informally. We are getting applications to join every day,” he said.

The report said China initiated the conversation about expansion when it was BRICS chair last year, as the world’s second-biggest economy tries to build diplomatic clout to counter the dominance of developed countries in the United Nations.

The proposed enlargement triggered concern among other members that their influence will be diluted, especially if Beijing’s close allies are admitted. China’s gross domestic product is more than twice the size of all four other BRICS members combined.

The foreign ministers from the five member states have all confirmed they’ll attend the discussions in June, Sooklal was quoted as saying.

In addition to its membership, they will also discuss “hot spots” including Sudan, where a conflict between the army and a paramilitary force continued for a 10th day on Monday.

Since its formation as the BRIC in 2006, the group has only admitted one new member — South Africa in 2010. Saudi Arabia and Iran are among the countries who’ve formally asked to join, Sooklal said in February.

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