G20 hold tough on Russia

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The G-20 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…reports Asian Lite News

Leaders of the world’s largest economies remain divided over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but they appeared ready Tuesday to convey a strong message from most condemning the nine-month war that has devastated Ukraine and sent food and energy prices soaring.

A draft declaration by leaders of the Group of 20 major economies under discussion Tuesday echoes the condemnation of Russia’s war on Ukraine by the United Nations, while acknowledging differing views among members.

The statement “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation” and “demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine.” The draft statement reiterates the stance expressed in the UN General Assembly’s March 2 resolution.

The G-20 draft statement also noted there were different views on the situation and sanctions against Russia, saying that the G-20 was not the forum for resolving security issues.

The careful wording of the statement reflects tensions prevailing at the gathering, which includes leaders from Russia and China as well as many other countries trying to avoid becoming entangled in antagonisms between the big powers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joined U.S. President Joe 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 destabilized business activity around the world, as much of Europe prepares to brave the winter without imports of Russian natural gas.

In opening the summit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo impressed on the gathering what’s at stake.

Photo taken on Nov. 12, 2022 shows the logo for the upcoming 17th Group of 20 (G20) Summit outside Apurva Kempinski, the main venue for the summit in Bali, Indonesia. (Xinhua/Wang Yiliang/IANS)

“If the war does not end, it will be difficult for the world to move forward,” Widodo said. “We should not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall into another cold war.”

In a video address, 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.

“Ukraine should not be offered to conclude compromises with its conscience, sovereignty, territory and independence,” he said. “Ukraine has always been a leader in peacekeeping efforts, and the world has witnessed it. And if Russia says that it supposedly wants to end this war, let it prove it with actions.”

A senior US administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the summit, said Tuesday that the summit’s final communique will make clear that “most” of the nations condemn Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and the toll it has taken on global food and energy supplies.

The European Council president, Charles Michel, also urged other global powers to intensify pressure on Russia. But it was unclear how many nations would embrace the relatively tough language in a final statement.

The US and its allies have responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with export controls and other sanctions, making it harder for Russia’s military to access key technologies and resupply with drones, artillery and other weapons.

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 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 on principle be weaponized.

“We must resolutely oppose the attempt to politicize food and energy issues or use them as tools and weapons,” Xi said in translated remarks. “Unilateral sanctions must be removed, and restrictions on relevant scientific and technological cooperation must be lifted.”

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.”

U.S. officials have said Biden’s trip shows countries large and small are willing to condemn Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin stayed away, sending his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

It also was not clear whether anyone from the U.S. delegation would meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi or other leaders whose cooperation is needed to secure a price cap on Russian oil to limit the profits Moscow uses to invest in its defense base.

The summit is the first for two critical new partners in Biden’s effort: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni.

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 strategize during their Wednesday meeting on new ways to bolster Ukraine’s defenses for the long haul.

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 was to meet with Biden privately on Tuesday afternoon.

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