Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has voiced support for South Africa's bid to join the BRIC group, which unites Brazil, Russia, India and China.

“We are aware that participation of the Republic of South Africa in the discussion of various issues that are on the BRIC agenda would be extremely productive, given the fact that BRIC is a new group of fast growing economies and the RSA belongs to this category,” said Mr. Medvedev at a joint press conference with visiting South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.

Mr. Medvedev said he and Mr. Zuma had discussed the issue of South Africa joining BRIC earlier in the day.

“We are prepared to develop various forms of cooperation with our South African partners, including in the BRIC format,” he said adding however a caveat: “The views and approaches of other [BRIC] members should of course be taken into consideration.”

Mr. Zuma, who took office a little over a year ago, has been aggressively campaigning for South Africa's membership in BRIC.

“If you want to build houses, you need more than one BRIC,” said South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Nkoana-Mashabane on a visit to Beijing in February, adding that South Africa could add momentum to the BRIC group.

Mr. Zuma's visit is part of his tour of the BRIC countries spread over the past few months. In April, he visited Brazil for the concurrent summits of BRIC and IBSA (the India-Brazil-South Africa group), and in June India. Later this month, he will be going to China.

The induction of South Africa into BRIC would effectively amount to a merger between BRIC and IBSA. China is believed to support the idea, while India is opposed. During the two groups' April summits in Brazil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlined that “IBSA has a character of its own — three large democracies coming together,” whereas “BRIC is a conception devised by Goldman Sachs; we are now trying to give it some shape.”

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