Ukraine-Russia War shadow on G20 Summit in Bali; PM Modi calls for ceasefire | Major takeaways
G20 Summit 2022: As leaders of the world's largest economies (G20) gathered on Tuesday to attend G20 Summit 2022, in Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday, it was expected that majority of global leaders would convey a strong to Russia to stop the ongoing war in Ukraine. Most leaders condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
US and Ukraine's stand
US President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy pressed the group (G20) to maintain pressure on Moscow over its nine-month war that has devastated Ukraine and roiled the global economy.
A draft declaration by leaders of the Group of 20 major economies under discussion on Tuesday echoes the condemnation of Russia's war on Ukraine by the United Nations, while acknowledging differing views among members.
The careful wording of the statement reflects tensions prevailing at the gathering, which includes leaders from Russia and China, and the challenge facing the US and its allies to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin's government as some nations seek to avoid becoming entangled in antagonisms between the big powers.
Still, it would be a strong rebuke of the war that has killed thousands, heightened global security tensions and disrupted the world economy if adopted in its current form, particularly since China and India abstained from condemning Russia's aggression in the March UN resolution.
The statement seen on Tuesday by The Associated Press “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation” and “demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine."
The G20 draft statement also noted there were different views on the situation and sanctions against Russia, saying that the G20 was not the forum for resolving security issues.
So far, no other leaders are known to have tested positive, though many of those in Bali also attended meetings with prime minister just days ago during a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian nations.
Biden skipped out on an evening gala for the leaders hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, to attend to unspecified matters. Biden sent his regrets to Widodo and said he would attend a planned tree planting with fellow G-20 leaders on Wednesday, according to a White House official.
The official, who was not authorised to comment and spoke on the condition of anonymity, noted it had been a “full day” for the president but insisted that Biden's absence was not related to COVID-19.
Need to find way to return to path of ceasefire & diplomacy: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a return to the path of "ceasefire and diplomacy" to resolve the raging Ukraine conflict, and opposed any restrictions on the supply of energy, amid the West's call against procurement of discounted Russian oil and gas. In an address at the G-20 summit here, Modi said that climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, the developments in Ukraine and the global problems associated with it have caused havoc in the world and rued that the global supply chains are in "ruins".
Russia’s stand at G-20 Summit
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who led the Russian delegation to the summit, denounced the Biden administration push to condemn Moscow.
“All problems are on the Ukrainian side that categorically refuses to hold any talks and comes up with conditions obviously unrealistic and inadequate to this situation," Lavrov said.
In a video address to the summit, Zelenskyy joined Biden in trying to persuade the G-20 to further isolate Russia diplomatically and economically, despite a souring global financial outlook that has tested many nations' resolve.
Inflation and slowing economies are weighing on countries that have imposed penalties on Russia for starting the war. Higher costs for energy and food have destabilised business activity around the world, as much of Europe prepares to brave the winter without imports of Russian natural gas.
In opening the summit, Widodo impressed on the gathering what's at stake. “If the war does not end, it will be difficult for the world to move forward,” he said.
Zelenskyy reiterated 10 conditions for ending the conflict that began in February, among them a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and full restoration of Ukrainian control of its territory. He spoke days after Ukraine retook the strategic city of Kherson from Russian forces, in his country's latest step in a counteroffensive that has forced Moscow to withdraw its forces from previously-occupied areas.
“Ukraine should not be offered to conclude compromises with its conscience, sovereignty, territory and independence," he said.
China’s stand at G-20 Summit
Chinese officials have largely refrained from public criticism of Russia's war, although Beijing has avoided direct support of the Russians, such as supplying arms. Biden said that during his meeting on Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping they discussed the war and “reaffirmed our shared belief” that the use or even the threat of nuclear weapons was “totally unacceptable” — a reference to Moscow's thinly veiled threats to use atomic weapons as its invasion of Ukraine has faltered. Xi told G-20 leaders the global economy should not be weaponised.
“We must resolutely oppose the attempt to politicize food and energy issues or use them as tools and weapons,” he said in translated remarks.
After meeting with Xi, French President Emmanuel Macron said they had called for “respect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine”.
In a tweet, Macron said France and China were determined to “put an end to the escalation of the war in Ukraine and deal with its consequences.”
US officials have said Biden's trip shows countries large and small are willing to condemn Russian aggression.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stayed away, sending Lavrov as his representative.
The summit schedule does not include the customary “family photo” of leaders, avoiding a potentially awkward moment of interaction with Lavrov.
The summit is the first for two critical new partners- Rishi Sunak and Giorgia Meloni
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who took office last month after the disastrously short tenure of Liz Truss, has promised to continue his conservative predecessors' steadfast support for Ukraine. He and Biden were set to strategise during their Wednesday meeting on new ways to bolster Ukraine's defences for the long haul.
Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni has pledged to continue to provide arms and aid for Ukraine, but questions remain over her far-right coalition's commitment to stand up to Russia. She and Biden met on the sidelines of the summit on Tuesday and discussed China, the climate crisis, the impact of Russia's invasion on the global energy market, and their commitment to providing Ukraine support, according to a White House statement.
(With AP input)
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