Brazil’s Lula hails BRICS expansion, wants African Union to join

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Leaders of the BRICS group of developing nations have invited Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates to join, in a move aimed at growing the clout of a bloc that has pledged to champion the “Global South”.

The move was welcomed on Thursday by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who said he also wanted to see the African Union eventually joining the bloc.

The new candidates will be formally admitted as members on Jan. 1, 2024.

 Comoros President Azali Assoumani, currently chair of the African Union, told the BRICS summit on Thursday that the BRICS grouping could help African countries become independent in the area of food security.

VIDEO: BRICS Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa announces outcomes of the 15th BRICS Summit:

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Lula left the door open to the possibility of admitting other new members in future.

Ramaphosa says they have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process, and further phases will follow.

“We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS. The membership will take effect from 1 January 2024. We value the interest of other countries in building a partnership with BRICS.”

He adds that they have tasked our Foreign Ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit.

“An in the course of those discussions we have reached a conclusion to adopt the Johannesburg 2  Declaration as a declaration which encompasses the various issues that leaders had to decide on, these matters have been in discussion for over a year in many meetings being prepared by our ministers in various meetings and in the end a declaration is now adopted as declaration 2, the Johannesburg Declaration 2 and is adopted. We have successfully concluded the 15th BRICS Summit yesterday, it is the first BRICS Summit to be hosted in person, since COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions.”-Additional reporting by Reuters