The heads of the world’s largest economies’ finance departments on Saturday strongly denounced Moscow for its war on Ukraine; only China and Russia itself declined to sign a joint statement.
India, which was hosting a meeting in Bengaluru as chair of the Group of Twenty (G20) economies, was hesitant to bring up the war, but Western countries insisted they could not support any decision that did not include a condemnation.
India released a “chair’s summary and outcome document” that merely summarized the two days of negotiations and listed disagreements due to the lack of agreement among G20 members.
It noted supply chain disruption, risks to financial stability, and ongoing energy and food insecurity, saying 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.”
The sanctions imposed by the United States, European nations, and other nations to punish Russia for the invasion and deprive it of revenue were described as having “other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”
The result was comparable to the G20 summit’s in Bali last November, where the host nation Indonesia also released a closing statement acknowledging differences. The G20, which was established more than 20 years ago to address economic crises, is finding it harder and harder to come to the kind of agreement required to issue a formal end-of-meeting communique.
Even though there was only an outcome statement and not what we would call a communique, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “We still think we’ve made some progress in having all the ministers on board.”
China’s decision to not sign the declaration, according to German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, is “regrettable.”
Earlier, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Reuters that any statement must “absolutely necessary” condemn Russia. Russia and China did not want the G20 platform to be used to discuss political issues, two delegates told Reuters.
Russia, a G20 member but not a G7 member, avoids using the terms “invasion” or “war,” instead referring to its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation.”
India has largely maintained a neutral position, refusing to place the blame for the invasion on Russia, looking for a diplomatic solution, and sharply increasing its purchases of Russian oil.
When the U.N. overwhelmingly voted on Thursday to demand that Moscow withdraw its troops from Ukraine and end the fighting, China and India were among the countries that chose to abstain.
Along with the G7 nations, the G20 bloc also consists of nations like Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Brazil.
Russian invasion of Ukraine, which upends the foundations of the international order, is making it difficult for the G20 to have productive discussions, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki told reporters.
NEGOTIATIONS FOR DEBT
On the sidelines, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) met with the World Bank, China, India, Saudi Arabia, and the G7 on Saturday to discuss restructuring debt for troubled economies, but Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, noted that there were still differences among the participants.
The commitment to overcome differences for the benefit of nations was evident during the session that just ended, according to Georgieva, who co-chaired the roundtable with the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
One delegate told Reuters that while some initial progress was made, primarily in the language used to discuss the issue, detailed discussion of restructuring was omitted.
Yellen claimed that the meeting, which was primarily administrative in nature, produced no “deliverables.”
Around the time of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in April, additional discussions are scheduled.
The largest bilateral creditor in the world, China, has come under increasing pressure from other countries to drastically reduce the amount of loans it provides to struggling developing countries.
Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun reiterated Beijing’s stance that the World Bank and other multilateral development banks should also take part in debt relief by taking haircuts in a video address to the G20 meeting on Friday.
At the meeting, more people supported India’s push for stricter regulation of private cryptocurrency assets.
Georgieva argued that if regulation fails, policymakers “should not take off the table” the possibility of outright bans. Yellen did not support such bans but emphasized the importance of establishing a robust regulatory framework.