BRICS expands to six new countries in major victory for China and Russia – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – August 25, 2023)

The BRICS bloc of countries has agreed to add six new members in a major expansion drive that strengthens the hand of China and Russia in their battle against the power of Western sanctions.

The six new countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates – will bolster the economic and political power of the BRICS group when they formally join in January. It is the first expansion of the bloc since 2010, when South Africa was added to the original four members: Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The expansion was announced Thursday morning at the end of the three-day BRICS summit in Johannesburg. It means the bloc will represent 47 per cent of the world’s population and 36 per cent of the global economy, according to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

BRICS leaders have been careful to insist the bloc is not an anti-Western organization. But its members are united by a hostility to Western sanctions, which have targeted Moscow since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year.

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