Divisions emerge at G20 summit
Divisions emerge at G20 summit
The world’s biggest economies adopted a consensus declaration at the annual G20 summit in India that avoided condemning Russia for the Ukraine war. 

TEHRAN (Iran News) –The world’s biggest economies adopted a consensus declaration at the annual G20 summit in India that avoided condemning Russia for the Ukraine war.

In the weeks leading up to the summit, hosted in India’s New Delhi this year, very sharp differing views on the Ukraine conflict had threatened to derail the gathering.
The United States led the push by the West to demand the G20 members strongly condemn Russia for the war.

The pressure by Washington was met with opposition from other G20 members, who chose to focus on other matters of global concern such as debt repayment structures, the environment and economic growth.

The consensus on a joint declaration highlights the diplomatic sensitivity of the crisis in Ukraine and has come as a surprise for many but will be seen as a blow to the U.S. and its closest Western allies who tried to push for strong condemnation of Russia, while other countries demanded to focus on other issues of concern.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the declaration. On the Ukraine war, he said, “We call on all states to uphold the principles of international law including territorial integrity and sovereignty, international humanitarian law, and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability.”

“We… welcome all relevant and constructive initiatives that support a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine.”

While the U.S. and its Western allies failed to turn the G20 summit into an anti-Russia agenda, the diplomatic muscle of other members has been commended. Ukraine was quick to criticize the wording of the statement, describing it as “nothing to be proud of” and highlighting that it failed to mention Russia.

Writing on social media, Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said, “It is clear that the participation of the Ukrainian side [in the G20 meeting] would have allowed the participants to better understand the situation.”

G20 host India itself has so far refused to condemn Russia for its war on Ukraine.

Critics have accused the U.S. and its allies of using international platforms to introduce contentious issues in their attempts to win over the Global South and swing it to Washington’s position on the most divisive issues at hand, such as the Ukraine war.

Experts believe that has made international conferences less productive, but have praised President Modi for making the G20 agenda very broad.

The weekend summit, which was supposed to be attended by heads of governments and states from across the world’s 20 largest economies, saw the absence of the Chinese and Russian leaders.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his premier Li Qiang instead and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin sent Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

While mainstream Western media have put forward the narrative that the absence of the two leaders was aimed at India hosting the summit, experts have argued that both leaders believe better results can be achieved at other global platforms such as BRICS and that India being the host had nothing to do with their non-attendance.

Svetlana Lukash, the Russian G20 government negotiator, has been cited by Interfax as saying that “all members of the G20 have agreed to act as one in the interests of peace, security and conflict resolution around the world.”

“There were very difficult negotiations on the Ukraine issue; first of all, the collective position of the BRICS countries and partners worked, everything was reflected in a balanced form,” Lukash added.

The section in the G20’s joint resolution on Ukraine also noted the “different views and assessments” on the war, while pointing out that all states must act in a manner “consistent with the purposes and principles of the UN charter in its entirety”.

It further called for the “timely and effective” implementation to ensure “immediate and unimpeded” deliveries of grain, food stuff and fertilisers from both Russia and Ukraine.

There was a very noticeable difference of the text on Russia’s role in the Ukraine war in comparison with last year’s G20 summit statement in Bali, with all references to “Russian aggression” or “Russia’s withdrawal” regarding the conflict in Ukraine that was present in the 2022 statement now removed.

Lavrov branded this year’s summit as a success and pointed out that it was the united position of the countries in the Global South? that avoided the meeting’s agenda from being overshadowed by the Ukraine conflict, saying they stood up “to protect their legitimate (economic) interests”.

He pointed out that the joint declaration “mentions the Ukraine crisis, but only in the context of the need to resolve all conflicts” in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said his country’s presidency of the G20 has succeeded in the complicated task of drafting a joint declaration, which was “shared by all members,” and at the same time reflected differing opinions on sensitive issues.

Ahead of the summit, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged that the gathering would result in “very strong language about Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine.”

Analysts say that some G20 members are party to the BRICS group of emerging economies, who have resisted the U.S. pressure to use the platform to create rifts with Russia and China.

The BRICS bloc is set to expand in January next year with its current and invited members taking a neutral stance toward the Ukraine war and are working along with many others in the international community on a peace settlement to end the fighting.

While the U.S. and its Western allies failed to turn the G20 summit into an anti-Russia agenda, the diplomatic muscle of other members has been commended.

In February 2022, Moscow declared “a special military operation” in Ukraine, citing the threat of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance’s eastward expansion toward Russian borders, the failure of the Minsk agreements and the rejection of its peace guarantees by Washington and NATO.

The U.S. (and its NATO allies) claims Russia’s military presence in Ukraine is a land grab operation and has shipped tens of billions of dollars of weapons to Ukraine, including cluster bombs and depleted uranium ammunition for tank shells, which will leave Ukrainians suffering for years and decades to come.

Critics accuse the U.S. of prolonging the war and suffering of Ukrainian civilians with its regular announcements of lucrative arms shipments to the warzone instead of presenting peace initiatives.

  • source : Tehrantimes