Moscow, July 14: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt plan to join BRICS, and their potential membership bids could be discussed and answered at next year's summit in South Africa, BRICS International Forum President Purnima Anand told Russian media on Thursday.
"All these countries have shown their interest in joining (BRICS) and are preparing to apply for membership. I believe this is a good step, because expansion is always looked upon favourably, it will definitely bolster BRICS' global influence," Anand told Russian newspaper Izvestia.
The BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) account for over 40 per cent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world's GDP. The bloc's stated purposes include promoting peace, security, development, and cooperation globally, and contributing to the development of humanity, RT reported.
Anand said the issue of expansion was raised during this year's BRICS summit, which took place in late June in Beijing.
The BRICS Forum President said she hopes the accession of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt will not take much time, given that they "are already engaged in the process", though she doubts that all three will join the alliance at the same time, RT reported.
"I hope that these countries will join the BRICS quite shortly, as all the representatives of core members are interested in expansion. So it will come very soon," Anand added.
The news of the three nations' plans to join the BRICS comes after Iran and Argentina officially applied for membership in late June, with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh touting the bloc as a "very creative mechanism with broad aspects".