The BRICS grouping on Thursday invited six nations to become full members. South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will become full members on January 1 next year.

“We have consensus on first phase of this BRICS expansion process,” Mr Ramaphosa said in Johannesburg, “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…”

“The membership will take effect from the first of January, 2024,” he said.

“We value the interests of other countries in building partnership with BRICS and have tasked our foreign ministers to further develop the BRICS partnership model and list of prospective countries (which want to join the grouping),” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Johannesburg to attend the BRICS Summit, welcomed all six nations and vowed to work with the other nations to continue adding nations that express interest in joining.

“I take this opportunity to welcome these six nations to BRICS… and I congratulate the leaders and people of these nations. India has close ties, historic ties, with each of these countries and I believe we will work together for a new era of cooperation and prosperity.”

According to news agency PTI, India had taken the lead in forging consensus to select new members to add to BRICS.

“India fully supports the expansion of the BRICS membership and welcomes moving forward with consensus in this,” the Prime Minister said.

At least 20 countries have applied for full membership of BRICS.

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