Countries seeking to join the group must not be involved in unilateral sanctions schemes, Russia’s deputy foreign minister has said © Sputnik / Alexey Danichev

Any country seeking to join the BRICS group should not participate in illegal unilateral sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said, emphasizing that this is a key criteria for Moscow to welcome new members.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday, the diplomat touched upon Russia’s vision for the further enlargement of BRICS.

“For us, one of the key criteria for admission to BRICS and welcoming partner states is non-participation…in the illegal sanctions policies, illegal restrictive measures against any BRICS participant, first of all, of course, against Russia,” Ryabkov stated.

This stance is met with “full understanding” by other BRICS members, Ryabkov noted. Moscow expects such a position to maintain its “core nature” as the group grows in the future, he said.

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“The fact that BRICS will grow and find new forms both with partners and in terms of its own expansion is indisputable,” the diplomat said, adding that the current ten members of the group have already “adjusted” to each other and are now working “as a team.”

BRICS was founded in 2006 by Brazil, Russia, India and China, while South Africa joined in 2011. The group expanded this year by welcoming Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates as full-fledged members. The group, now colloquially known as BRICS+, has opted to keep its original name despite the expansion.

Numerous other countries have officially declared an intention to join the organization as well. The latest expression of intent came over the weekend from Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who pledged to file the necessary paperwork shortly.

“We have made our policy clear and we have made our decision. We will start the formal process soon. We are waiting for the final result and the feedback from the South African government,” Ibrahim stated. (RT)