Wednesday 8 February 2023

Ukraine war dominates G20 summit in Bali; leaders agree to differ

BALI (Indonesia), November 16, 2022

The Group of 20 nations concluded a two-day summit on the Indonesian island of Bali unanimously adopted a declaration stating that most members condemned the Ukraine war, but acknowledged that some countries saw the conflict differently.
The leaders of the world's biggest economies also agreed to pace interest rate rises carefully to avoid spillovers and warned of "increased volatility" in currency moves, reported Reuters.
But it was the Ukraine conflict, which started with a Russian invasion in February, that dominated the two-day summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.
The 20 nations account for more than 80% of the world's gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of its population.
As a G20 member, Russia was among the attendees, although President Vladimir Putin did not go himself.
"Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine," the leaders said in their declaration.
The declaration recognised that "there were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions", signalling Russia's rejection of a unanimous condemnation.
"It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability," the declaration added.
A Western-led push to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine dominated Tuesday's Group of 20 (G20) summit on the Indonesian island of Bali where leaders of major economies grappled with a dizzying array of issues from hunger to nuclear threats.
At the end of the summit, Indonesia announced the adoption and ratification of the Bali G20 Leaders’ Declaration at the two-day G20 Summit in Nusa Dua, according to ANTARA News Agency.
"Today, we can adopt and ratify the G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration. This is the first declaration that has been realized since February 2022," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said in his closing speech at the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua on Wednesday.
The President expressed his appreciation for the flexibility shown by leaders that allowed an agreement to be reached on the declaration.
Besides the declaration, the Indonesian G20 Presidency also produced a concrete list of cooperation programs for G20 countries and invitees.
"This cooperation project will help bring the G20 closer to the people, ensuring that the G20 is beneficial not only for its members, but also for the world, and especially for developing countries," Widodo said.
During the closing ceremony, President Widodo handed over the gavel of the G20 Presidency to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi, who had a busy day holding meetings separately with the leaders of Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore and the UK, thanked Widodo at the event, and said that the world was looking to India’s leadership of the forum of the largest economies with “hope”.
"India’s G20 presidency will be “inclusive, ambitious, decisive, and action-oriented”, said Modi after accepting the ceremonial gavel.
"India is taking charge of the G20 at a time when the world is simultaneously grappling with geopolitical tensions, economic slowdown, rising food and energy prices, and the long-term ill-effects of the pandemic,” Modi said during the closing ceremony. 
He said that India would give priority to “women-led development” in its G20 agenda, which would be driven by the recently unveiled theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”. India is expected to showcase its geographical and cultural diversity during the year, and will hold approximately 200 G20 meetings at different locations across the country.
As at other recent international forums, the United States and its allies were seeking a statement from the two-day G20 summit against Moscow's military actions, reported Reuters.
But Russia, whose forces pounded cities and energy facilities across Ukraine even as the G20 met, said "politicization" of the summit was unfair.
"Yes, there is a war going on in Ukraine, a hybrid war that the West has unleashed and been preparing for years," said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, repeating Putin's line that military alliance NATO's expansion had threatened Russia.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the summit in a virtual address that it was time to implement a 10-point peace plan he has proposed. Kyiv is demanding a full Russian withdrawal from occupied territories.
Zelenskiy called for restoring "radiation safety" at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, price restrictions on Russian energy resources, and an expanded grain export initiative.
Hosts Indonesia pleaded for unity and a focus on problems like inflation, hunger and high energy prices, all exacerbated by the war.
"We have no other option, collaboration is needed to save the world," said Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
"G20 must be the catalyst for inclusive economic recovery. We should not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall into another Cold War."
The draft summit document also said G20 central banks would calibrate monetary tightening with an eye on the global inflation problem, while fiscal stimulus should be "temporary and targeted" to help the vulnerable while not hiking prices.
On debt, it voiced concern about the "deteriorating" situation of some middle-income countries and stressed the importance of all creditors sharing a fair burden.


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