MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. The quintet of BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) may turn into an organization of 15-17 countries if all the states wishing to join it are granted membership, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Primakov Readings forum on Wednesday.
"We all know that this format [RIC - Russia, India, China] paved the way for the BRICS Five, which currently enjoys great publicity and many countries line up seeking a full-fledged membership," Lavrov said.
"If we meet all bids then the ‘five’ will turn into about 15-17 countries as the BRICS summit in June, which was organized in a video conference format by our Chinese colleagues, showed us," the foreign minister noted.
Lavrov stressed that the RIC remains an operational format and not only foreign ministers, but ministers of economy, energy and economic development as well, are meeting within the framework of this format.
"The RIC keeps thriving today and not many know that this ‘trio’ continues holding meetings at the level of foreign ministers," Lavrov continued. "Just a couple of months ago we held such a meeting in the on-line format and it was the 20th meeting of this kind since [ex-Foreign Minister] Yevgeny [Primakov] proposed to keep developing this format."
"Besides the meetings of foreign ministers, there are meetings of energy, trade and economic development ministers as well as of numerous industrial members of the corresponding governments," the Russian foreign minister added.