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The BRICS countries are open to joining new members…and calling for a “rebalancing” of the global system


The BRICS countries are open to joining new members…and calling for a “rebalancing” of the global system

Senior diplomats from the BRICS countries announced, during talks in South Africa (Thursday), that the group is open to joining new members, at a time when the bloc seeks a stronger voice in the international arena.

The foreign ministers of the “Group of Five”, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, called for a “rebalance” of the global system, during their meeting in the Cape, within the framework of a two-day conference overshadowed by the repercussions of the war in Ukraine, according to the “AFP”. ».

“Our meeting should send a strong message that the world is multipolar, that it is rebalancing, and that old ways cannot handle new situations,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said during an opening speech. He added, “We are a symbol of change, and we must act on this basis.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has largely isolated Moscow on the international stage, prompting it to seek closer ties with China and others.

For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “more than ten countries”, including Saudi Arabia, are reported to have expressed interest in joining the “BRICS” group.

Lavrov stated that the issue was discussed with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, who is in Al-Kab.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaozhou said that Beijing welcomes potential applicants. “We expect more countries to join our big family,” he said at a press conference.

The meeting of the BRICS countries, Thursday, in Cape Town, comes before a summit of heads of state, scheduled for August, whose preparations are dominated by the possibility of Vladimir Putin attending South Africa, the host country for the summit.

Putin has an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for the “deportation” of Ukrainian children as part of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

In theory, as a member of the International Criminal Court, South Africa should arrest the Russian president if he enters its territory. But the two countries maintain close relations.

In this regard, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor confirmed that “an invitation was extended to each of the five heads of state.”

She added that the South African government, which has not taken a position on the issue of the possible arrest of the Russian president, is studying “legal options”.

Pandor indicated that the summit will be held in Johannesburg, after media reports said that the government is considering moving it to another place to circumvent this issue.

Meanwhile, demonstrators carrying Ukrainian flags outside the hotel where the meeting took place chanted: “Stop Putin! Stop the war! Some carried banners depicting Lavrov, which read “child killer” in red letters.

Dzvinka Kachor, 41, a member of the Ukrainian Association of South Africa, told Agence France-Presse: “It’s hard to see that South Africa, which has a strong stance on children’s rights, is shaking hands with someone who is part of these systematic war crimes against Ukrainian children.”

Pandor explained that the foreign ministers did not discuss the issue of Putin’s presence, but rather focused their talks on the possible use of alternative currencies to the US dollar in international trade, and on strengthening the “New Development Bank”, also known as the “BRICS” bank.

In a clear reference to Western actions against Russia, she said that ways were also discussed “to ensure that we do not become victims of sanctions that have secondary effects on countries that do not engage in the issues that led to these unilateral sanctions.”

Pretoria refuses to condemn Moscow since the start of the war on Ukraine, stressing that it takes a neutral position, and prefers dialogue to resolve the crisis, which raises concern on the international scene.

In April, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Putin put South Africa “in a difficult position”.

This week, the South African government granted diplomatic immunity to officials who attended the BRICS summit, saying it was standard procedure for organizing international conferences.