By Bala Chambers
LONDON (AA) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Tuesday that Argentina is on track to become a member of the BRICS group of emerging economies along with Iran.
"Of course, both Argentina and Iran are worthy and respected candidates, as well as a number of other countries that are also mentioned in the discussions," said Lavrov, who is on a working visit to Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.
During his press conference, Lavrov confirmed that the preliminary process for Argentina's incorporation has already gotten underway and that the ultimate decision concerning both nations’ accession "will be made by consensus."
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also confirmed on the Telegram messaging app that both Argentina and Iran have officially presented their applications to become members of BRICS -- an informal intergovernmental organization of five major emerging economies that seeks to develop dialogue and multilateral cooperation and could become among the leading economies in the near future.
The organization was founded in 2009 by Brazil, Russia, India and China and held its inaugural summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia. South Africa became a member in 2010.
Today, BRICS accounts for over 40% of the world's population and around 26% of the global economy.
Last week, Argentina's President Alberto Fernández pushed for his country to become a member of the bloc during its 14th summit via video conference.
Fernández, who was invited by Chinese President Xi Jinping, said “we aspire to become full members of this group of nations that already represents 42% of the world's population and 24% of the global gross domestic product."
At the summit, the Argentine Peronist leader underscored the South American country's desire to join BRICS, insisting that "Argentina wants to join this space and offer its contributions as a member of it."