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G20 summit avoids criticism of Russia, it calls for peace

Leaders gathered here for the annual Group of 20 summit agreed on a joint statement laying out shared views on climate change and economic development. G-20 avoided condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine but called on all states not to use force to grab territory, according to CNN.

On the eve of the summit, diplomats worked on a draft final joint statement, in which they could not reach a consensus on how to formulate a description of the war in Ukraine. The eventual compromise statement amounted to a coup for the summit’s host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but still reflected a position far softer those the United States and its Western allies have adopted individually.

US President Joe Biden insisted on uniting behind Ukraine during his two-night stay in India for the summit. He also pressed his case for American investment in the developing world.

On Saturday, the leaders decided to the joint declaration acknowledging the situation in Ukraine while not papering over the group’s major divides. The declaration does not emphasize whether it is about Russia or any other country. The document also highlighted the economic effects of the war and stated opposition to the use of nuclear weapons. The statement acknowledged:

“There were different views and assessments of the situation among the G20 nations.”

The declaration earned the praise of the United States. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan called the statement a “significant milestone for India’s chairmanship and a vote of confidence that the G20 can come together to address a pressing range of issues.” Sullivan even claimed:

“The G20 statement includes a set of consequential paragraphs on the war in Ukraine. And from our perspective, it does a very good job of standing up for the principle that states cannot use force to seek territorial acquisition.”

Still, the language differed from last year’s G20 declaration, which stated “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine.”

Russia and China had resisted stronger language in a final statement, making any kind of agreement difficult. Russia, as a member of the G20, would have to agree on any consensus statement on Ukraine. No G20 summit has concluded without a joint declaration of some type.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko criticised the declaration:

“Ukraine is grateful to its partners who tried to include strong wording in the text,” he wrote on Facebook. “At the same time, the G20 has nothing to be proud of in the part about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Obviously, the participation of the Ukrainian side would have allowed the participants to better understand the situation. The principle of ‘nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine’ remains as key as ever.”

The absence at the summit of two of Biden’s chief global rivals — Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin — provided opportunities for Biden to make a more affirmative case at the summit, White House officials said as the gathering was getting underway in New Delhi.

Biden’s plan was to portray the United States as a reliable counterbalance to China’s economy. He announced new plans with partner nations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia to construct a major new transit corridor connecting the regions, a challenge to Beijing’s own efforts at expanding global trade. In addition, he unveiled new reforms and investments in the World Bank, which the White House says could unlock hundreds of billions of dollars in grants and loans for the developing world – providing an alternative to China’s economic ambitions in those regions. Biden was welcomed by the summit’s host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with a smile and a warm handshake. Modi said:

“India calls upon the world to come together to transform the global trust deficit into one of trust and reliance. This is the time for all of us to move together. Be it the divide between North and South, the distance between the East and West, management of food and fuel, terrorism, cyber security, health, energy or water security, we must find a solid solution to this for future generations.”

It sounded like a call to unite during a total split for the grouping.

Billboards of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are placed across New Delhi ahead of this week’s summit of the Group of 20 nations in India.

While Biden has enjoyed ample success at other summits convincing fellow leaders to step up their military support for Ukraine and tighten their punishment of Russia, many nations, particularly in the Global South, haven’t been as convinced.

Although the American president was able to convince some of his colleagues to increase military support for Ukraine and toughen punishment for Russia, most countries in the Global South remained unconvinced. They do not support the huge amounts of Western aid that are regularly sent to Ukraine and plan to establish a more balanced relationship with Russia.

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