Johannesburg, August 25, 2023.

In a landmark move, the top leaders of the BRICS nations on Thursday decided to admit Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as full members of the grouping that is largely seen as a counterweight to Western powers.

The decision to induct the six countries to join the bloc from January 1 next year was announced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the final day of the annual summit of the BRICS that currently comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process, and further phases will follow,” Ramaphosa, flanked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said at a media briefing at the end of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg.