US, Russia praise G20 summit declaration as India meeting closes


White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters the declaration “does a very good job of standing up for the principle that states cannot use force to seek territorial acquisition or to violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of other states”.


New Delhi slum-dwellers rendered homeless ahead of G20 summit

New Delhi slum-dwellers rendered homeless ahead of G20 summit

Germany and Britain also praised the resolution but Ukraine said “it was nothing to be proud of”.

In the weeks leading to the summit, sharply differing views on the war had threatened to derail the meeting, with the West demanding members call out Moscow for the invasion and Russia saying it would block any resolution that did not reflect its position.

The summit also admitted the African Union which includes 55 member states, as a permanent member of the G20.

On Sunday leaders including US President Joe Biden, Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Britain’s Rishi Sunak, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Japan’s Fumio Kishida, visited the memorial of Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

Most were barefoot as they walked to the site where Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948 by a Hindu extremist and stood in silence.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) with French President Emmanuel Macron (L), Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo (2-L), Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2-R) and US President Jo Biden during the G20 Summit on Sunday. Photo: EPA-EFE

Biden later left for Vietnam, missing the last session of the summit. The White House said it was not aware of him having any talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov or Chinese Premier Li Qiang, who led their country’s delegations at the summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin both skipped the summit.

“This was one of the most difficult G20 summits in the almost twenty-year history of the forum … it took almost 20 days to agree on the declaration before the summit and five days here on the spot,” Lukash, the Russian delegate, said.

“This was not only due to some disagreements on the Ukraine subject, but also due to differences in positions on all key issues, primarily the issues of climate change and the transition to low-carbon energy systems …”

A European Union official, who did not want to be identified, said that the Ukraine war was the most contentious issue in the negotiations.

Ukrainian soldiers hold national flags over the coffins of their compatriots in Lviv on Friday. Photo: AFP

“Without India’s leadership it would not have been possible,” the official said on Sunday, adding that Brazil and South Africa also played a crucial role in bridging differences.

Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has left tens of thousands dead, displaced millions and sown economic turmoil across the world. Moscow, which says it is conducting a “special military operation” there, denies committing any atrocities.

In the months leading up to the leaders’ summit in New Delhi, India had been unable to find agreement on the wording about Ukraine, with Russia and China objecting even to language that they had agreed to at the 2022 G20 summit in Bali.

This year’s final statement, released a day before the formal close of the summit, highlighted the “human suffering and negative added impacts of the war in Ukraine,” but did not mention Russia’s invasion.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and US President Joe Biden during the G20 Leaders’ Summit. Photo: AFP

It cited a United Nations charter, saying “all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible”.

By contrast, the Bali declaration last year cited a UN resolution condemning “the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine” and said “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine”.

Western leaders – who have pushed for a stronger rebuke of Russia’s actions in past G20 meetings – still called the consensus a success, and praised India’s nimble balancing act. If the G20 had not produced a final communique, it would have been the first time and a blow to the group’s prestige.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters it was significant that Russia had signed on to the agreement that mentioned the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Additional reporting by Associated Press


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