BRICS express interest in increasing number member states
The plenary meeting of BRICS foreign ministers foreshadows a meeting of BRICS presidents scheduled in August.
During a meeting in Capetown, South Africa, the foreign ministers of BRICS founding member states said that the bloc was open to new members in light of their aspiration for a greater say in international affairs.
"Our gathering must send out a strong message that the world is multipolar, that it is rebalancing and that old ways cannot address new situations," India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said during the opening remarks of the meeting in Capetown.
"We are a symbol of change and must act accordingly," he added.
The foreign ministers called for a "rebalancing" of the international regime.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that more than a dozen countries have expressed interest in joining the bloc: saying that the group is still deliberating as they shape their approach.
"Indeed we discussed this issue [BRICS expansion] and I did discuss it with the [foreign] minister from Saudi Arabia this morning. As regards to approach of BRICS it is still being shaped, it is evolving," Lavrov said at a joint press-conference after the meeting of BRICS foreign ministers.
China's Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu also voiced Beijing's interest in welcoming prospective applicants into the economic bloc.
"We expect more countries to join our big family," Ma said at a press conference.
The plenary meeting of BRICS foreign ministers foreshadows a meeting of BRICS presidents scheduled in August, which is causing complications for South Africa, the hosting country, over Putin's arrest warrant by the ICC.
It was reported earlier this week that South Africa will provide foreign officials attending the BRICS summit hosted by the country in August with diplomatic immunity.
South Africa’s international relations minister, Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, said that “immunities and privileges [will] be accorded to the participants of the BRICS Ministerial Meeting and the BRICS Summit.”
Pandor stressed, at a press conference, that the summit would be held in Johannesburg, South Africa after media reports suggested the meeting would be relocated.
In response to the recurring question about the implications of Putin's visit to South Africa, if he was to visit, Pandor replied "Do you spend sleepless nights thinking about it?"
Pandor said Putin's attendance was not discussed by the foreign ministers, with discussions geared towards the potential use of alternative currencies to the US dollar in international trade and on developing the BRICS bank.
In reference to Western sanctions against Russia, Pandor said that the foreign ministers' meeting also included discussions about ways to ensure that we do not become victim to sanctions that have secondary effects on countries that have no involvement in issues that have led to those unilateral sanctions".