Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Monday formally joined the BRICS, a multilateral group comprising the world’s major emerging economies.

The group comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China was created in 2006. South Africa was added in 2010. With the presence of Russia and China, the BRICS bloc has over the years become a forum for the members to discuss economic issues concerning the non-Western world.

At the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in August, the member nations had approved the proposal to admit six countries, including Argentina, into the bloc with effect from January 1.

However, Argentina’s new President Javier Milei announced last week that he is withdrawing his country from the process of becoming a member of the BRICS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who took over as the year-long presidency of the bloc on Monday, hailed the formal inclusion of the five new members.

“Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates joined BRICS as new full members which is a strong indication of the growing authority of the association and its role in international affairs,” Putin said.

Putin also said that the Russian chairmanship of BRICS in 2024 under the motto “strengthening multilateralism for equitable global development and security” will focus on positive and constructive cooperation with all concerned countries.

“Of course, we will consider the degree to which many other countries, about 30 of them, are prepared to join the BRICS multidimensional agenda in one form or another,” Putin added. “To this end, we will start working on the modalities of a new category of BRICS partner country.”

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