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G-20 fails to reach consensus on global agenda amid Ukraine disputes



NEW DELHI — Foreign ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies on Thursday failed to reach consensus on a far-reaching agenda tackling poverty, corruption and counterterrorism due to lingering disagreements over the war in Ukraine, a blow for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had urged nations to put aside their differences.

“We couldn’t put everyone on the same table because of the ongoing conflict,” said Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s top diplomat, who holds the chairmanship of the Group of 20.

The Indian populist leader hoped to unite participating countries around common goals in food and energy security, disaster relief and development. But the strongest adversaries in the world fiercely clashed over Ukraine conflict and offered dueling visions of how the war should end.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the rally was “tainted by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West of turning the meeting into a “farce”.

Blinken has rare encounter with Russian Lavrov at G-20 meeting in India

In a document summarizing the meeting, the Indian government said “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.”

He noted, however, that there were “other views” as well as an acknowledgment that “the G-20 is not the forum for resolving security issues.”

The differences meant that the meeting did not result in a joint communiqué signed by all members of the G-20, whose countries count for 85% of the world’s economic output and two-thirds of its population.

The global division over the war in Ukraine is widening

The same dispute thwarted a consensus at a meeting last week of G-20 finance ministers – an outcome Modi sought to avoid by calling on diplomats to learn from Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, and “ focus not on what divides but on what unites us.”

“We must not allow problems that we cannot solve together to hinder those that we can,” he said.

Following the meeting, Modi’s top diplomat said “multilateralism is in crisis”.

Blinken, for his part, said the gathering reinforced the broad agreement among world powers rather than discord. “Russia and China are the only two countries that have clearly indicated that they will not sign this text,” he told a press conference on Thursday.

Although very little friendship was displayed, the meeting saw the first face-to-face meeting between Blinken and Lavrov since the start of the war in Ukraine a year ago.

The two opponents briefly engaged on the sidelines of the conference for less than 10 minutes. US officials said Blinken stressed Washington’s support for a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine that preserves the country’s territorial integrity.

“He stressed that Ukraine and the United States want this war to end on this basis … but what is missing is a similar resolve from Moscow,” a senior US Department official said. State.

He also urged Russia to reverse its decision to suspend cooperation under the New START nuclear weapons deal and to accept a US offer to release US citizen Paul Whelan, the official said.

What is New START and why is Russia ‘suspending’ its role in the treaty?

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the meeting took place at Blinken’s request while Lavrov was “out of town”.

“There were no negotiations,” she told Tass news agency.

Modi’s government has been heavily publicizing its role as host of the G-20 as part of a campaign to rally domestic political support and portray India as a geopolitical heavyweight, especially among countries south, a term used to describe parts of Asia. , Africa and Latin America which depend on the richest countries for their economic support. As US-China relations have frayed, India has positioned itself as a key player in global supply chains and international diplomacy.

Throughout the rally, Russia, China and the United States worked to promote their respective initiatives to end a conflict that has dramatically increased food and energy prices around the world.

Lavrov, for example, used his remarks to “apologize” to representatives of the developing world for the “indecent behavior of a number of Western delegations” whose remarks about the war in Ukraine prevented collective action.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, meanwhile, has promoted China’s 12-point peace plan for Ukraine as something the entire G-20 should rally behind.

“Global development and prosperity cannot be achieved without a peaceful and stable international environment,” Qin said in a statement.

Blinken’s pitch to G-20 countries was that Russia is not open to “meaningful diplomacy.” He said no one wanted to end the war sooner than the Ukrainians – but there is “no evidence” that the Russians want to negotiate in good faith. The Kremlin’s position that Ukraine must accept Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory as a precondition for negotiations should not be accepted by any nation, Blinken said.

Other European countries in the G-20 echoed his skepticism of Russian or Chinese diplomatic overtures. Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra says countries must provide material support to Ukraine ‘because there is no alternative for Ukraine but success on the battlefield’ .

“Only if Ukraine succeeds on the battlefield can it succeed at a negotiating table,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

Right-wing Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni made an appearance at the event and laid out a unique position calling on Modi to play a ‘central role in facilitating a negotiation process for the cessation of hostilities for a just peace’ .

While India’s neutral stance has been criticized by some Western politicians, the country has underscored its economic dependence on Russian oil and military equipment.

Russia is now India’s third-largest supplier of crude oil, accounting for almost a fifth of its imports by value last year, according to data from India’s Commerce Ministry.

This close relationship has created unease in Washington, particularly in Congress. But a senior State Department official said India’s energy ties were less of a problem given the Western-imposed cap on Russian oil prices.

“Indians are buying well below the ceiling price,” the official said. “It’s good for the Indian economy. It stabilizes the oil markets. This deprives Russia of excess revenue that can fuel war.

Gerry Shih and Anant Gupta in New Delhi, and Mary Ilyushina in Riga, Latvia, contributed to this report.

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