Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), a group of emerging countries combatting traditional Western dominance, added six new member countries, it announced at its summit on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates are the six new countries BRICS welcomed into the coalition and they will become official members on Jan. 1, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the summit hosted in his country, according to Reuters. Leaders of the original BRICS countries described the historical and geopolitical significance of the new member additions and suggested this is only the beginning.
“BRICS has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous,” Ramaphosa said, according to Reuters. “We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process and other phases will follow.”
Dozens of other countries including Bolivia, Cuba and Kazakhstan also want to join BRICS, according to Reuters.
“This membership expansion is historic,” Chinese President Xi Jinping, said, according to Reuters. “It shows the determination of BRICS countries for unity and cooperation with the broader developing countries.” (RELATED: More Countries Flock To China’s Anti-US Dollar Alliance Ahead Of Major Meeting)
Russian President Vladmir Putin did not attend the summit because of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for his alleged crimes in Russia’s war with Ukraine, according to Reuters.
“BRICS is not competing with anyone,” Putin said in remotely recorded remarks, according to Reuters. “But it’s also obvious that this process of the emerging of a new world order still has fierce opponents.”
The BRICS coalition, which has expanded to encompass 11 nations, consists of a combined population of 3.7 billion people including three authoritarian states, two autocratic monarchies and a theocracy, according to The New York Times.