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Saudi Arabia officially joins BRICS

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The BRICS group has welcomed five new members, with further expansion expected later this year.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday officially announced that it has joined the BRICS+ group, with the news carried by state TV.

Riyadh has been in negotiations on its accession to the group for months, with Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan stating last August that all the details on the move would be evaluated before an “appropriate decision” was taken.

At the time, the foreign minister said the BRICS group was “a beneficial and important channel” for bolstering economic cooperation between member countries.

The group, which until January 1 included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, welcomed five new members on New Year’s Day. Apart from Saudi Arabia, it now includes Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the UAE. Another prospective member, Argentina, made an abrupt U-turn on its accession plans after the presidential election in the country was won by Javier Milei late last year.

The group is expected to grow even larger later this year, with Venezuela seeking to become a permanent member at the next summit in Russia in October 2024

Moscow has assumed the one-year rotating presidency of the group for the year, with President Vladimir Putin pledging to “facilitate the harmonious integration” of new partners. Some 30 other countries have already expressed their intent in participating in the group’s activities in one form or another, Putin noted.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro spoke on the matter with the Spanish-language edition of Le Monde Diplomatique in an interview published on Monday, arguing that the group represents “humanity’s future,” given its vast economic power.

According to the IMF figures, the expanded BRICS now surpasses the G7, an informal group of the leading Western countries, in terms of GDP at purchasing power parity, accounting for 36% of the world total.

Maduro also slammed the move by his Argentine counterpart, arguing that the decision to scrap the BRICS+ plans was “one of the clumsiest and stupidest things Milei has done” to his country to date. With his decision, Milei has effectively taken the country back to the 19th century, seeking to turn it into a “vassal of the imperial unipolar world,” Maduro suggested

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