‘Discussing Ukraine war top priority at G20’


Leaders of G20 nations, including Joe Biden, are scheduled to attend the G20 summit in New Delhi in September…reports Asian Lite News

The ongoing war in Ukraine would be one of the top topics of discussion during the G20 Summit in New Delhi next month, according to a senior official of the United States.

Leaders of G20 nations, including US President Joe Biden, are scheduled to attend the G20 summit in New Delhi in the first half of September.

“In all of our conversations with allies and partners around the world, we continue to discuss the war in Ukraine. It is always one of the top topics that comes up in all of our conversations, and I have no doubt that’ll be true at the G20,” State Department’s Spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

War not a priority issue, says India

With little movement on consensus between G-7 countries and Russia and China over a joint statement, India’s G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant had said that the Ukraine war was not on India’s list of priorities for outcomes from its presidency. Instead, India is focused on finalising the language of the “Leader’s Declaration” pertaining to economic and development issues, while leaving the “contentious” issues for later, he said.

“The Russia-Ukraine war is not our creation, or that of developing or emerging countries. It is not a priority for us…” Kant said, listing India’s priorities as “development issues, growth, more financing from multilateral institutions, technological transformations, and supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

AU inclusion a priority

He also said that discussions on language about the Ukraine war was at present being discussed “bilaterally”, and not in the full G20 group. In the absence of a consensus on the statement to be released at the Delhi Summit, India may be forced — for the first time in G20 history — to issue only a “Chairman’s Outcome Statement”, which would not be endorsed by other countries.

“Our priority is not war; it may be a priority for someone else. Which is why we will discuss this at the end. Whether we get a solution or not, that doesn’t reflect anything,” said Kant, indicating that India would seek successes in other spheres, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal for the African Union to be inducted as a member of the G20. At present, the G20 includes the world’s 19 largest economies, with the European Union as the 20th member. In June, Mr. Modi had written to all G-20 leaders, proposing that the African Union — including 54 African countries — be made a full member at the Delhi Summit, slated to be held on September 9 to 10.

The proposal to include the AU is one of the key changes in the “Revised Draft” text that was shared with the delegations. According to sources, the “contentious” paragraphs referring to the Ukraine war have been held for the moment, and the focus of the document is on economic and multilateral initiatives.

Talks had broken down in February after Russian and Chinese officials made it clear that they would not sign on to two paragraphs referring to the war in Ukraine that were critical of Russia’s actions, which had been agreed to at the Bali Summit last year. As a result, most statements put out during the Indian presidency refer to the Russian and Chinese dissent in these paragraphs. G-7 countries — most notably the US, France, and Canada — have also made it clear that they will not sign on to a joint communique that does not contain the Bali Summit paragraphs.

In Bali, a consensus document was arrived at only after strenuous efforts by President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, but it had to mention the divisions over Russia, and paragraphs noting the dissensions. For this year’s summit, officials may be working “on multiple options”, Ambassador Bhatia said — including the possibility of having two separate communiques, one containing the core agenda of the G20 on which there would be unanimity, and another on the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine is anxious not to lose the support of the West, without which it cannot fight Russia. But if the Ukrainian army cannot notch up successes on the battlefield, voices in the US against continued material support to Ukraine will find increasingly greater resonance.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has brought the world to a standstill when urgent action is needed to address growing global poverty, India’s G20 summit negotiator Amitabh Kant said on Wednesday.

Kant’s comments follow two back-to-back G20 ministerial meetings in India in the last three weeks overshadowed by the war, which entered its second year last month.

India, which holds the bloc’s presidency this year, has sought to highlight the economic impact of the conflict as well as issues such as climate change and poorer countries’ debt.

“Especially when the south is suffering, especially when 75 countries are suffering from global debt, especially when one-third of the world is in recession, especially when 200 million people have gone below poverty line. Can that one war bring the entire world to a standstill?”

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