Next Year’s BRICS Summit to Gather More Than 5 Leaders, Russian Diplomat Predicts

Moscow expects the number of leaders participating in the 2024 BRICS summit to be greater than five, according to a high-ranking Russian diplomat. The statement comes as the five-member organization prepares to discuss its enlargement at its meeting at the top this year, with dozens of nations showing interest or formally applying to join it.

Russia Signals Openness to Accepting New Members in the BRICS Bloc

The Russian government believes the number of participants in the next year’s BRICS summit will not be limited to the current five members, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency.

In 2024, Russia will chair the BRICS group of developing economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and host its highest level forum in Kazan, the capital city of its Republic of Tatarstan, Ryabkov reminded. Speaking to reports he elaborated:

Let’s see what the coming months will bring in terms of defining the parameters of BRICS expansion and how many heads of state will come to Kazan, it’s an open question. I think it will be more than the current five.

His words signal that the Russian Federation is open to admitting new member states to the organization. Enlargement will be among the key topics discussed during this year’s BRICS summit which will be held on Aug. 22 – 24 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the event in person but will join the talks via video link as a result of an indictment and an arrest warrant for him issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the war in Ukraine.

Ryabkov emphasized that Putin’s participation on conference call “does not signal a decrease in attention” to BRICS. “On the contrary, it is a reflection that our leadership is fully focused on the format,” the senior Russian diplomat insisted.

Statements by officials and media reports in the past months have indicated that a growing number of countries seek membership in BRICS. In June, India’s Business Standard daily wrote that the nations that may be inducted at the upcoming summit are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Egypt, and Argentina.

South Africa’s top diplomat responsible for BRICS relations, Anil Sooklal, recently revealed that more than 40 countries are interested in joining the economic bloc, including 22 that have already formally applied for membership. His expectations are that the organization may eventually expand to include over 50 members.

Do you think BRICS will expand significantly in the near future? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

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