A handout photo made available by the Government Information Service shows the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, (C) shaking hands with the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi (3-R) while posing for a family photo with other BRICS leaders and delegates during the closing day of the BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg, South Africa, 24 August 2023 (issued 25 August 2023). EFE-EPA/KOPAN O TIAPE / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

BRICS expansion does not amount to geopolitical rivalry, US says

Washington DC, Aug 25 (EFE).- The United States said on Friday that it does not believe that the planned expansion of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) would turn the bloc into a geopolitical rival and backed the member nations’ right to ally with others.

President of China Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attend the China-Africa Leaders’ Roundtable Dialogue on the last day of the BRICS Summit, in Johannesburg, South Africa, 24 August 2023. EFE-EPA/ALET PRETORIUS / POOL

A US state department spokesperson told EFE that the US supported the stand that countries can choose the partners and groups they want to associate with, and Washington would keep working with its allies in bilateral, regional and multilateral forums to boost “our common prosperity.”

In its leaders’ summit held in Johannesburg between Aug. 22-25, the BRICS agreed to admit Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates and Iran, starting 2024.

“We are not looking at the BRICS as evolving into some kind of geopolitical rival to the United States or anyone else.  This is a very diverse collection of countries in its current iteration, (…) with differences of view on critical issues in the Indo-Pacific, in the war in Ukraine, on a range of other things,” the White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had told reporters earlier this week.

Sullivan insisted that the US would “continue to work on the strong positive relationships we have with Brazil, India, and South Africa,” while “managing” its relationship with China and “push back on Russia’s aggression.”

“We do not look at this group through geopolitical terms,” the NSA insisted, while repeating that Washington was in a “positive place” with some of the BRICS members and “a different place” with others, in an indirect allusion to Beijing and Moscow.

Brazil, Russia, India and China created the BRIC group in 2006, which South Africa joined in 2010, thus adding the letter ‘S’ to the acronym.

The bloc accounts for more than 42% of the world’s population and 30% of the planet’s territory, as well as 23% of gross domestic product and 18% of world trade. EFE