Following Russia’s announcement of Iran’s & Argentina’s BRICS membership bids, the alliance president reveals that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, a NATO member, have the same plans
Just over two weeks after Russian state media announced that Iran and Argentina filed their official applications to join BRICS, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt began the process of making the same move, the alliance President Purnima Anand said on July 14.
“All these countries have shown their interest in joining and are preparing to apply for membership.
I believe this is a good step, because expansion is always looked upon favorably, it will definitely bolster BRICS’ global influence,” Anand told Russian media.
According to state-backed Russia Today, she pointed out that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt are “already engaged in the [BRICS membership] process,” saying she hopes that they will join soon but that she doubts they will all join simultaneously.
“While the White House was thinking about what else to turn off in the world, ban or spoil, Argentina and Iran applied to join the BRICS,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in late June.
Whereas Iran’s membership bid was confirmed by the government, its Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying the move would “result in added values for both sides,” Argentina’s formal bid is yet to be confirmed by its authorities.
The source, however, did confirm that the process began, just not formally. “Argentine authorities have already publicly expressed their willingness to join. It is a process that has only just begun,” the source said.
On July 7, the government of Argentina announced it had secured China’s formal support for its BRICS membership bid following a meeting between the two countries’ diplomacy chiefs at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Indonesia.
For countries to begin their membership process, (formal) support is needed by all BRICS member states.
“[Chinese Foreign Minister] Wang Yi formally confirmed his country’s support for Argentina’s membership of the BRICS group, in line with what was agreed between the group’s leaders,” the foreign ministry of Argentina wrote in a statement on July 7, adding that Argentina’s entry would “strengthen and broaden its voice in defense of the interests of the developing world.”
With a combined population of around 129 million people, Iran and Argentina would also bring a lot to the table when it comes to energy and food security: Iran holds the world’s second-largest gas (and massive gold) reserves while Argentina is a major soy, wheat, and corn exporter.
Looked at alongside more recent membership bids by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt, whose combined population comes out at around 220 million people, the BRICS alliance could become around 349 million people larger by next year, when these new bids are to be discussed at the 2023 BRICS summit in South Africa.