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G-20 meeting in India ends without consensus on Ukraine war

The first day of the meeting took place on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

In this handout photo released by Indian Finance Ministry, Australia's Treasurer Jim Chalmers, left, meets with Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the sidelines of G-20 financial conclave on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.
In this handout photo released by Indian Finance Ministry, Australia's Treasurer Jim Chalmers, left, meets with Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the sidelines of G-20 financial conclave on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.AP

A meeting of finance chiefs of the Group of 20 leading economies ended on Saturday without a consensus, with Russia and China objecting to the description of the war in Ukraine in a final document. The meeting hosted by India issued the G-20 Chair’s summary and an outcome document stating that there was no agreement on the wording of the war in Ukraine. The first day of the meeting took place on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Group of Seven major industrial nations announced new sanctions against Russia on Friday, just as the talks of the G-20 group wrapped up in confusion in the Indian technology hub of Bengaluru.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen condemned the “illegal and unjustified war against Ukraine” at a session attended by Russian officials and reiterated calls for G-20 nations to do more to support Ukraine and hinder Moscow’s war effort.

At the last major G-20 meeting, in Bali, Indonesia, in November, leaders had strongly condemned the war, warning that the conflict was intensifying fragilities in the world’s economy. The group includes Russia and also countries like China and India that have significant trade with Moscow.

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that the communiqué prepared for the Bengaluru meeting carried two paragraphs from the Bali declaration, but Russia and China demanded they be deleted and said they could not be part of the final document this time.

Their contention was they had approved the Bali declaration under the then prevailing circumstances, she said. “Now they didn’t want it,” Sitharaman said. She didn’t give any other details.

The Bali declaration said that “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks.”

The declaration also said: “There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. G-20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.”

The second paragraph of the declaration, which is now unacceptable to Russia and China, said, “It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. ... The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”

Sitharaman said the meeting could not issue a communique because of the objections raised by Russia and China and decided to opt for a summary and an outcome document.

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