Saturday, May 18, 2024

G20 laments war in Ukraine but avoids blaming Russia

(BBC News) The G20 summit in India has agreed on a joint declaration, including a statement on the war in Ukraine.

On the first of their two-day meeting, G20 leaders denounced the use of force for territorial gain but stopped short of directly criticizing Russia.

The Ukrainian government said the statement was “nothing to be proud of.”

The summit in Delhi discussed a number of global issues, including climate change and the debt burden of developing countries.

But it was a day of unexpectedly big headlines at the G20 summit.

Few expected a joint declaration, not least on the first day of the summit given the sharp divisions in the group over the war in Ukraine.

But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the group had reached consensus on the declaration.

A strong indication that last-minute negotiations were ongoing came in an earlier draft of the declaration accessed by the BBC on Friday, showing the paragraph on Ukraine was left blank.

The sticking point was the Ukraine war — as it was during the Bali summit last year.

The Delhi declaration appears designed to allow both the West and Russia to find positives. But in the process, it has used language that is not as strong in its condemnation of Moscow as it was in Bali last year.

In Bali, the members deplored “in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine” — although it noted that “there were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”

The Delhi declaration does not directly criticize Russia for the war.

But it does talk about “the human suffering and negative added impacts of the war in Ukraine with regard to global food and energy security.” It also repeated the acknowledgement of “different views and assessments.”

Importantly, the declaration specifies “the war in Ukraine” rather than “the war against Ukraine.” This choice of words could have increased the likelihood of Russia endorsing the declaration.

Ukraine — which took part in the Bali summit — was not invited this year, and its response to the declaration has been critical.

“In terms of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, G20 has nothing to be proud of,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry tweeted.

The other big news came when Modi formally invited the African Union (AU) to become a permanent member of the G20.

Delhi prioritized elevating the voices of these nations as the foundation of its presidency, and in the near future, it is poised to reap the rewards of this strategic choice as it vies with China for influence across Asia and Africa.



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