Saudi Arabia’s BRICS membership officially activated

New Delhi | Updated: 01 February, 2024 8:13 pm IST
Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

NEW DELHI: After receiving expansion invitations at the 2023 annual summit, Saudi Arabia is now confirmed to become a member of the BRICS alliance. South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, has officially announced the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and the four other invited nations.

At the beginning of 2024, questions surfaced about Saudi Arabia’s position within the alliance. Initially, the country stated it had not officially accepted the invitation, expressing contemplation about the geopolitical implications of such alignment. However, during a news conference on Wednesday, Pandor disclosed that the country has now officially accepted the invitation.

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A significant geopolitical shift occurred with the expansion of the BRICS alliance, throughout 2023. In its annual summit last year, the alliance declared its initial expansion initiative since 2001, when South Africa was welcomed. Notably, six diverse nations were extended invitations to join the alliance.

Following the issuance of those invitations, Argentina opted not to join due to a change in leadership. Moreover, concerns had arisen regarding Saudi Arabia’s commitment to joining. The country’s assertion in 2024 that it was still contemplating membership raised concerns, with many fearing a potential rejection.

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Contrary to previous assumptions, Saudi Arabia has now become a member of the BRICS alliance. In fact, the affirmation from Pandor indicates that the five additional invitees have also agreed to join. Consequently, Saudi Arabia will be part of the alliance alongside the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Ethiopia, and Iran.

“To the BRICS confirmations, five out of the six confirmed. That is Saudi Arabia, UAE, Ethiopia, Iran… and Egypt,” Pando said at a press conference. “Argentina has written to indicate that they will not act on this successful application by the previous administration to become full members of BRICS, and we accept their decision.”

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For a considerable period, Saudi Arabia was considered a crucial participant in the alliance’s initiatives. However, its strong connections with the US posed a potential obstacle to the invitation’s success. Nevertheless, their formal inclusion in the bloc has not been verified, and it is probable that they will align with the de-dollarisation initiatives that have become the focal point of the collective.

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