Chinese, Russian leaders’ absence marks G20 leaders’ gathering in India as Africa Union joins the bloc
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: The world's most powerful leaders have agreed on a joint declaration at the G20 summit despite deep divisions over the Ukraine War, host India said.
With China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin absent from the meeting, there were concerns the leaders would not be able to agree on a statement.
In what looks like a concession from Western countries on language on the Ukraine War, the statement does not condemn Russia for the conflict.
“We call on all states to uphold the principles of international law including territorial integrity and sovereignty, international humanitarian law, and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability,” the statement said.
“The peaceful resolution of conflicts, and efforts to address crises as well as diplomacy and dialogue are critical.
“We will unite in our endeavour to address the adverse impact of the war on the global economy and welcome all relevant and constructive initiatives that support a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine."
Negotiators reportedly worked around the clock on the statement; as leaders arrived at the summit venue in Delhi on Saturday, there was still disagreement over the Ukraine War.
India has called for an end to the violence in Ukraine while continuing friendly ties with Russia; it was hoped the host country could leverage that position to bring Moscow to the table.
“While noting the G20 is not the platform to resolving geopolitical and security issues, the leaders recognised they can have significant consequences for the global economy,” Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar said.
In his opening statement, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi persevered with a speech imploring the “world to come together”.
"As the President of the G20, India invites the entire world to … first and foremost, transform this Global Trust Deficit into global trust and confidence.”
Some of that pressure on India, to get these leaders to agree, is self-inflicted.
The Modi government has used its rotating host position of the G20 to project itself as the next big superpower.
“India’s G20 presidency has become a symbol of inclusion," Mr Modi said before he announced that the African Union, a group of 55 countries, would become a permanent member of the bloc.
Beijing holds enormous influence in Africa; the Union's admission into the G20 appears to be the peak of India's attempts to get a hold in the region.
Without President Xi at the summit, Europe, India, the US, and parts of the Middle East have also announced a new rail and shipping corridor.
But as leaders at the G20 summit in New Delhi tried to get on with the job, their irritation with Mr Xi's absence was felt.
“Some have speculated China's absence indicates that it is giving up on the G20, building an alternative world order, that it will privilege groupings like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa),” US deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said.
“It’s incumbent upon the Chinese government to explain (why its leader) would or would not participate.”
Still, the Chinese government said it was willing to work towards a “positive outcome” at the G20 something which was crucial to delivering an eventual joint statement.