Wrangling over Ukraine war dominates summit of G20 major economies

  • Draft declaration: “majority” of G20 members condemn Ukraine war
  • Ukrainian President Zelensky is implementing a plan to end the conflict
  • Indonesia calls for an end to political polarization
  • US President Biden skipped a celebratory dinner in Bali

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Western-led efforts to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominated the Group of 20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali on Tuesday, where leaders of major economies grappled with issues ranging from hunger to nuclear weapons. threats.

President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine on February 24 has crippled the global economy and revived Cold War-era geopolitical divisions as the world begins to recover from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As in other recent international forums, the US and its allies were aiming for a statement condemning Moscow’s military actions at the two-day G20 summit.

However, Russia said it was unfair to “politicize” the summit.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeated Putin’s words that the expansion of NATO’s military alliance posed a threat to Russia: “Yes, there is a war going on in Ukraine, a hybrid war started by the West and prepared for many years.”

In a draft of the 16-page declaration seen by Reuters, diplomats acknowledged that leaders have yet to accept it.

“The majority of members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and emphasized that it was causing enormous human suffering and deepening the fragility of the global economy,” it said.

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Different views and different assessments were given on the situation and sanctions,” he said.

The summit is the first meeting of G20 leaders since Russia introduced its forces into Ukraine. 20 countries account for more than 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of the population.

‘SAVE THE WORLD’

The hosts called for Indonesia’s unity and focus on efforts to tackle problems such as inflation, hunger and high energy costs exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said: “We have no choice but to cooperate to save the world.”

“The G20 must be a catalyst for inclusive economic recovery. We must not divide the world. We must not allow the world to descend into another Cold War.”

The summit’s draft document says G20 central banks will calibrate monetary tightening in light of the global inflation challenge, and fiscal stimulus should be “temporary and targeted” to help the vulnerable rather than raise prices.

On debt, he expressed concern over the “deteriorating” situation of some middle-income countries and stressed the importance of fair burden sharing by all creditors.

But it did not mention China, which has been criticized in the West for delaying debt relief efforts by some emerging economies.

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In a virtual address at the summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said now is the time to end Russia’s aggression and implement his proposed 10-point peace plan. Kyiv demands the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the occupied territories.

Zelensky called for restoring “radiation safety” at Russia’s Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, capping prices for Russia’s energy resources and expanding grain export initiatives.

A US official said Washington wanted the G20 to make a clear statement against Russia’s incursion and its impact on the global economy, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there were encouraging signs of a consensus that war was unacceptable.

Lavrov said that he heard Zelensky’s appeal. He accused him of prolonging the conflict and ignoring Western advice.

Russia said Putin was too busy to attend the summit.

Are the US and China getting closer?

There was an encouraging sign ahead of the summit, however, with US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledging to meet and stay in touch more often as their nations grow further apart.

Both sides have expressed their opposition to the use of nuclear weapons.

Russia has stated that it has the right to use various methods, including nuclear capability, to protect its security.

China and Russia are close, but Beijing has been wary of direct material support for the Ukraine war, which could trigger Western sanctions against it.

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Chinese state media reported that Xi told French President Emmanuel Macron in another bilateral meeting that Beijing supports a ceasefire and peace talks in Ukraine.

Civil society groups criticized the draft G20 declaration for failing to address hunger, stepping up efforts to finance development and neglecting an earlier commitment to provide $100 billion in climate finance by 2023.

“Rather than taking the lead, the G20 is repeating old commitments from previous years or focusing on events elsewhere,” said Friederick Roeder of Global Citizen. “Fifty million people are on the brink of starvation as we speak. There is no time for the G20 to call for action – they must act.”

The leaders mingled at a gala dinner on Tuesday night, many dressed in traditional Indonesian batik dresses. Host Widodo joked that he hoped the food was not too spicy for foreigners.

But Biden skipped the meal. “It’s been a long day and he has other issues,” a White House official said.

Reporting by Francisca Nangoy, Stanley Vidianto, Nandita Bose, Leika Kihara, David Lowder and Simon Lewis in Nusa Dua, Andrea Shalal in Washington, Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Lydia Kelly in Melbourne and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Written by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Andrew Cawthorne; Edited by Tom Hogue and Mark Heinrich

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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