G-20 disagreement over Ukraine war at first summit since Russia invasion


Leaders of the Group of 20 economies were at odds over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Tuesday on the opening day of their first summit since the war began in February, though most member states were eager to denounce Moscow in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped the meeting on the resort island of Bali, while US and Chinese leaders participated in the same face-to-face international meeting for the first time since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

Leaders of the Group of 20 Economies meet on November 15, 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. (Pole Photo) (TBEN)

Russia, whose economy has been hit hard by sanctions imposed by Western countries, sent Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Bali on Putin’s behalf as the war against Ukraine continues.

A draft statement, seen by TBEN News, said: “Most members have strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” demanding Russia’s “complete and unconditional withdrawal” from the neighboring country.

The draft statement, meanwhile, said: “There were different views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” reflecting a split between the G-20 states over their position on Russia.

Later on Tuesday, Lavrov was quoted by Russia’s Tass news agency at a press conference as saying, “The West added the sentence that ‘many delegations condemned Russia’, (but) we noted that alternative positions were also outlined.”

The foreign minister added: “We believe this is enough,” Tass reported, indicating that Russia will endorse the statement on Wednesday. However, some diplomatic sources said it is still uncertain whether the statement will be adopted.

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The G-20 meeting came a day after Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who had an unprecedented third five-year term in power at the two-and-a-decade Congress of the ruling Communist Party in October, held their first face-to-face meeting. top kept in Bali. .

Amid escalating tensions between Western democracies and what they call autocratic nations over Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the G-20 states are struggling to frame a communiqué before the end of the summit, the sources said.

Some countries agreed to taunt Russia over the war in a statement, but others tried to refer to opposition to Moscow sanctions, the sources added.

The G-20 has managed to pass a statement at every meeting since its inaugural summit in 2008. Failing to show unity this time would raise skepticism about the global framework’s ability to reach agreement, it said political analysts.

Indonesia, the host of this year’s G-20 summit, invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the meeting, although the country is not a member of the G-20. The Ukrainian president participated online.

According to the Ukrainian embassy in Indonesia, Zelenskyy said at the summit: “Russia must withdraw all its troops and armed formations from the territory of Ukraine. Ukraine’s control over all parts of our state border with Russia must be restored.”

The president described the meeting as the “G-19” summit without Russia, the embassy said.

No usual group photo was taken at the opening of the G-20 summit, with the Indonesian government saying some leaders refused to be photographed with Lavrov.

Earlier on Tuesday, a senior US administration official stressed that there was a “core consensus” among most G-20 members that the war in Ukraine is the “root cause” of the current global economic instability.

“I think what you will see is that most of the G-20 countries will be clear that the Russian offensive war is being condemned in the strongest possible terms,” ​​the official told reporters.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in his speech at the opening of the G-20 summit that “we must end the war” between Russia and Ukraine and “not divide the world into parts”.

Their summit, which was due to end on Wednesday, also focused on whether G-20 countries, some of which are suffering from rising inflation, can make concessions to rising world energy and food prices, largely caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While the United States and other members of the Group of Seven major industrialized countries such as Japan have significantly cut off trade with Russia, China and India, the two most populous countries in the world, continue to import natural resources from Russia.

Xi told other G-20 leaders on Tuesday that the world must firmly oppose any attempt to politicize food and energy issues or use them as political tools and weapons, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

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At the G-20 meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine and pledged aid to developing countries to ensure their food security, a government official said.

The prime minister was also quoted by the official as saying that Japan will “never tolerate Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons” against Ukraine as fears mount that Putin could use a tactical nuclear device for a limited strike.

Kishida, who has emphasized the importance of a “world without nuclear weapons”, representing a constituency in Hiroshima, has decided to hold the 2023 G-7 summit in the western Japanese city, which was destroyed in August 1945 by a American nuclear bomb.

Along with the G-7 – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union – the G-20 also includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia , Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey.

On Tuesday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit through Sunday and planned to attend the G-20 summit, said he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He canceled his G-20 meetings.

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