- Most G20 members would strongly condemn the war in Ukraine
- Zelenskiy urges the G20 to help end the war according to his plan
- Indonesia urges action on global economic problems
- China’s Xi to hold meetings with several other leaders
NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Nov 15 (Reuters) – A summit of the Group of 20 (G20) on Tuesday erupted as the United States and its allies backed a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the Russian minister of Foreign Affairs was dismissed as unjustified politicization.
The summit on the Indonesian island of Bali is the first gathering of G20 leaders since Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February.
The war, which Russia describes as a “special military operation”, has overshadowed the meeting despite calls from host Indonesia for unity and a focus on action to solve global economic problems such as inflation and food and energy security.
“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine, emphasizing that it causes immense human suffering and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in the global economy,” a 16-page draft statement read, according to a copy viewed by Reuters.
“There were different views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” said the draft, which diplomats said had yet to be adopted by leaders.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who leads his country’s delegation in the absence of President Vladimir Putin, denounced the attempt to condemn Russia as politicization by Western countries that had unsuccessfully tried to include Russia in the statement.
Lavrov said Russia had put forward an alternative position and the draft would be finalized on Wednesday.
A US official previously said the United States expected the G20 to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine and its impact on the global economy.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there were encouraging signs of a consensus that Russia’s war against Ukraine was unacceptable.
G20 ministerial meetings in the past have failed to produce joint statements due to disagreements between Russia and other members over language, including how to describe the war in Ukraine.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the summit in a virtual speech that it was now time to stop Russia’s war in his country according to a plan he proposed “rightly and based on the UN Charter and international law”.
He called for the restoration of “radiation safety” with regard to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the introduction of price restrictions on Russian energy resources and the expansion of a grain export initiative.
“Please choose your path for leadership – and together we will surely implement the peace formula,” he said.
Lavrov, who on Monday rejected a news agency report that he had been taken to hospital in Bali with a heart condition, said he listened to Zelenskiy’s speech, adding that the Ukrainian leader was dragging the conflict and not listening to Western advice.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine led to calls from some Western leaders for a boycott of the summit and the withdrawal of Putin’s invitation, but Indonesia refused to do so.
Russia previously said that Putin was too busy to attend the summit and that Lavrov took his place.
‘SAVE THE WORLD’
The summit opened with a plea from Indonesian President Joko Widodo for unity and concrete action to restore the global economy despite deep divisions over the war.
“We have no other choice, cooperation is needed to save the world,” he said. “The G20 must be the catalyst for inclusive economic recovery. We must not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to return to a cold war.”
The G20, which includes countries ranging from the United States, Russia and Brazil to India, Saudi Arabia and Germany, accounts for more than 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of the population .
On the eve of the summit, US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held bilateral talks in which they pledged to communicate more often despite the many differences.
The meeting was the first the two had in person since Biden became president and it appeared to be a sign of an improvement in relations after a downward spiral in recent months.
Xi and Putin have become increasingly close in recent years, reaffirming their partnership just days before Russia invaded Ukraine. Nevertheless, China has taken care not to provide direct material support that could trigger Western sanctions against the country.
During a bilateral meeting on Tuesday, Xi told French President Emmanuel Macron that China was calling for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks, Chinese state media reported.
Macron said it was crucial for France and China to work more closely together to overcome the effects of the war in Ukraine, his office said, adding that the two leaders agreed on the urgency of ending the conflict in to de-escalate Ukraine and reaffirmed their position on preventing the use of nuclear weapons.
During their meeting on Monday, Biden and Xi “underscored their opposition to the use or threat of the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” the White House said.
Xi told Biden that nuclear weapons cannot be used and nuclear wars cannot be fought, China’s foreign minister said in a statement.
The West has accused Russia of making irresponsible statements about the possible use of nuclear weapons since the invasion of Ukraine. Russia, in turn, has accused the West of “provocative” nuclear rhetoric.
Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy, Stanley Widianto, Nandita Bose, Leika Kihara, David Lawder and Simon Lewis in Nusa Dua, Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Written by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan; Edited by Robert Birsel and Tom Hogue
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