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BRICS summit: which Middle East states could join powerful bloc?

China and Russia are seeking to expand the group and their global influence, and several MENA countries are in line to apply.
Xi Jinping at BRICS

The 15th annual BRICS summit kicks off in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday, where senior officials of five major emerging economies — Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa — will meet and discuss expanding the group that is often seen as an alternative to the Western hegemony. 

Leaders of all BRICS members will attend, apart from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is under an international arrest warrant over his country’s invasion of Ukraine. He will attend virtually and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be there in person.

At the summit, leaders will discuss the China-based New Development Bank (NDB) or the so-called BRICS bank. The lender includes BRICS members as well as Bangladesh, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates among its shareholders. 

On the last day of the summit on Thursday, the group will talk about new admissions to the bloc. The five BRICS members are divided about whether they want to welcome new members to the alliance, and if they do support enlarging the group, there are differences on what the admission criteria should be. Some 67 leaders across Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean have been invited to the summit, according to South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.

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