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‘BRICS expansion, Bangladesh’s joining depends on members’

‘BRICS expansion, Bangladesh’s joining depends on members’

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Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said the decision of BRICS’s expansion and Bangladesh’s joining depends on the BRICS members as there is a debate on its expansion.

“The decision depends on them. It’s their debate. It’s not us,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when a reporter wanted to know whether Bangladesh is unlikely to get BRICS membership.

Minister Momen said Africa is a rising star and Bangladesh wants to make stronger relations with the African countries. “Our relations with the African countries are not much stronger. We have opened two missions there. The Prime Minister will give them instructions (to make greater efforts),” he said.

Earlier, official spokesperson at the India’s Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi said as mandated by the leaders last year, BRICS members are internally discussing the guiding principles, the standards, criteria, and procedures for BRICS expansion process on the basis of full consultation and consensus.

“As our External Affairs Minister had mentioned, we are approaching this with an open mind and a positive outlook. We have seen some baseless speculation that India has reservations against expansion. This is simply not true,” he said in a media briefing on August 3.

China has said the expansion of BRICS is a political consensus reached by all five members of the grouping.

China is committed to advancing the BRICS expansion and stands ready to bring more like-minded partners into the big family of BRICS, said Spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry Mao Ning commenting on Bangladesh’s approach to join BRICS.

On June 19, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh would welcome if BRICS invites it formally to join the grouping of five member states - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

“We will surely join once they invite us. We are yet to receive any formal letter (inviting us to join). BRICS leaders are thinking of taking some emerging economies – around eight new countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Bangladesh,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the BRICS Summit, scheduled to take place on August 22-24 in South Africa, said the Foreign Minister.

“We are not confirmed yet about the meetings on the sidelines. We will let you know once those are confirmed,” spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Seheli Sabrin told reporters at the weekly media briefing.

Usually, the PM holds meetings with her counterparts from various countries on the sidelines of any summit or conference.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed his country's readiness to host the historic XV Summit of BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

It will be the first BRICS Summit to be hosted in person since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global restrictions.

President Ramaphosa has in recent months and weeks held a number of consultations on the hosting of the summit.

The summit will be attended by the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

By mutual agreement, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation will not attend the Summit, but the Russian Federation will be represented by Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, according to the host country.

In due course, a comprehensive statement on the substantive issues to be covered at the summit and other related foreign policy matters will be issued.

President Ramaphosa is confident that the Summit will be a success and calls on the nation to extend the necessary hospitality to the many delegates who will arrive from various parts of the continent and the globe.

Earlier, Bangladesh received the formal invitation from the host. The summit will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre (SCC) in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

BRICS leaders will engage with businesses during the BRICS Business Forum and engage with the New Development Bank, BRICS Business Council and other mechanisms during the Summit.

South Africa will also continue its outreach to leaders from Africa and the global South and hold a BRICS Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue during the 15th Summit.