Saudi Arabia Is Interested in Joining the BRICS, Reports South Africa’s Ramaphosa
Oct. 19, 2022 (EIRNS)—“The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did express Saudi Arabia’s desire to be part of BRICS,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the conclusion of his Oct. 15-16 state visit to the Kingdom, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is Prime Minister. The report was made by South African Broadcasting Corp. on Oct. 16. President Ramaphosa continued, “The BRICS nations are going to be meeting in a summit next year under the chairship of South Africa. And the matter is going to be under consideration.”
The 2023 BRICS Summit and the separate annual meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers have not yet been scheduled. Formal applications for membership submitted by Argentina and Iran will also be considered.
Saudi membership in the BRICS would have special significance in terms of the BRICS plan to develop a new, global reserve currency, given that the dollar’s strength has in part come from its dominant role in the international oil market.
The Saudi move comes during unprecedented verbal hostilities between Biden and the Saudis that were especially manifest in the week ending Oct. 15. When OPEC+ did not follow Biden’s wishes for an increase in oil production, but instead implemented a cut of 2 million barrels per day, Biden responded via an interview with CNN, saying “There’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done with Russia.” The Saudi Foreign Ministry came back with a long statement rejecting Biden’s interpretation. Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman said Saudi leaders were “astonished” by the U.S. falsehoods. Prince Saud al-Shaalan was furious: “Anybody that challenges the existence of this country and this kingdom, all of us, we are projects of jihad, and martyrdom. That’s my message to anybody that thinks that he can threaten us,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.
Democratic congressmen are now preparing legislation to slash military aid to the Saudis. Meanwhile, U.S. officials have not been invited to the Saudi investment conference later this month.
President Ramaphosa’s state visit was planned to obtain Saudi investment in exchange for South African products, including agricultural produce. The Saudis have agreed to $15 billion in investments so far, and 17 memoranda of understanding have been signed. The investments are in mining, agriculture, transport, security, and renewable energy. Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al Falih spoke of “accelerating the pace” of their mutual economic relations.