G20 meeting in India ends without consensus on Russia-Ukraine war
China and Russia refused to accept parts of a G20 statement that deplored Moscow’s aggression.
A meeting of finance chiefs of the Group of 20 economies ended on Saturday without a joint statement after China and Russia opposed the inclusion of text criticising the war in Ukraine.
India, which hosted the meeting in Bengaluru, issued a “chair’s summary” stating that there were “different assessments of the situation” in Ukraine and on sanctions imposed on Russia.
Russia refers to its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation” that is necessary to prevent Kyiv from being used as a platform for Western aggression. It avoids describing the conflict as an invasion or war.
India had also urged delegates at Saturday’s meeting to avoid using the word “war” in any official statement, unidentified G20 officials told Reuters. The development came a day after India abstained from voting on a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly that called for the unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
New Delhi has maintained a neutral stance in the conflict and not explicitly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. India has also sharply increased its imports of Russian oil since the war started, with the country’s foreign minister S Jaishankar repeatedly defending the move.
Delegates told Reuters that China and Russia did not want the G20 meeting in Bengaluru to be used for political issues.
A footnote in India’s summary on Saturday said that two paragraphs were adapted from the G20 Bali declaration in November. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that China and Russia had reservations about this.
The declaration said that “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks”.
It added, “There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. G-20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.”
The second paragraph of the declaration, opposed by both the countries, stated: “It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability...The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said the failure to reach an agreement on the joint communique was regrettable.
“This is a war,” she had said on Friday. “And this war has a cause, has one cause, and that is Russia and Vladimir Putin. That must be expressed clearly at this G20 finance meeting.”