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G-20 Unites Against Russia Over Economic Damage From Ukraine War

US President Joe Biden gestures in front of European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday during the G-20 summit. / Leon Neal / EP

The draft of the final declaration considers the nuclear threat “inadmissible” and calls for peace adhering to the principle of territorial integrity protected by the UN

PAUL M. DIEZ Special envoy to Bali (Indonesia)

Neither the tropical placidity of Bali nor the spectacular open-air gala dinner under a 120-meter-tall statue of Vishnu have calmed the G-20’s temper against Russia over the Ukraine war. It was hoped, perhaps with too much optimism, that this paradisiacal Indonesian island would serve to reduce international tensions and reach some kind of agreement or negotiated solution to the conflict. But it has not been like that and the only thing that has finally resulted is the unity of the G-20 against one of its members, Russia, due to the impact that the war is having on the global economy.

Adding 80 percent of said economic activity and two thirds of the world population, the G-20 sits at the same table the most advanced nations, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany or France, with the emerging powers in developing countries, such as China, India, Brazil, Mexico or Turkey. Although they have the most diverse political systems, what they all agree on is money and business, which are diminished every day by the invasion of Ukraine launched by Putin. As the fighting continues for months and global problems in the supply chain, food and energy worsen, more voices are rising against Russia, even among countries more sympathetic to its position, such as China and India.

This is the only way to explain that, despite Russia’s membership in this forum, the summit agreed on Tuesday the draft of its final declaration with strong criticism of Moscow and demanding a peaceful solution to the conflict. This is stated in the document, to which ABC has had access and which will be signed today by the leaders of this meeting. Unless something unexpected happens at the last minute, it will be the first time that an international forum has referred to the conflict in such direct terms and Russia has had no choice but to swallow it. Otherwise, it would have been even more relegated than it already is.

In addition to recalling the “devastation brought by the Covid-19 pandemic”, the draft of the final statement warns that “this year we have witnessed that the war in Ukraine has had an even more adverse impact on the global economy.” Although acknowledging that “there is a discussion on the matter”, the G-20 reiterates the “national positions expressed in other forums, including the UN resolution adopted by a majority on March 2, 2022 that deplores in the strongest terms the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from Ukrainian territory”.

The draft states that “most members strongly condemn the Ukraine war and stress that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating already existing fragilities in the global economy, constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains , raising food and energy insecurity and risks to financial stability.” Although he admits that “there are other opinions and different assessments of the situation and the sanctions” and that “the G-20 is not the forum to resolve security issues”, he warns that said “security issues can have significant consequences for the economy global”.

United Nations Charter

The document bases its legal architecture on “the Principles and Proposals of the United Nations Charter, including the protection of civilians and infrastructures in armed conflicts”, to rule that “the use or threat of nuclear weapons is inadmissible”. In contrast, it stresses that “the peaceful resolution of conflicts and efforts to manage crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital.” Picking up a warning that Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister and summit attendee, already issued to Putin in September, the draft insists that “today’s era must not be one of war.”

Representing Putin, who is entrenched in his bunker and declined the invitation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had to listen stoically to all this criticism and even put on the ‘batik’, the colorful traditional Indonesian shirt, to attend the gala dinner Right after, he left Bali and left his right hand, Svetlana Polyakova, the ballot to sign the final declaration, unless she breaks the agreement reached by the ‘sherpas’, the negotiating delegations from each country.

Although the document circulating this Tuesday at the summit was the draft, diplomatic sources assured that there was a fair amount of consensus on it, even among countries that previously preferred not to criticize Russia. In addition to China, India stands out, whose prime minister announced that it will continue buying oil from Moscow but warned that the global supply chain is “in ruins” and appealed for a return to the “path of ceasefire and diplomacy.” More forceful was the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who asked Lavrov to end this “barbaric war.”

At a lunch by the sea, which was attended as guests by the presidents of the IOC and FIFA, Thomas Bach and Gianni Infantino, even they were happy to dispatch Russia for the damage that the war was doing to the world of sport and its contracts.

For its part, the European Union welcomed the consensus on this draft. As the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, explained before the opening of the summit in the morning, “this G-20 is one of the most difficult we have ever had”, but “the fact that we have reached an agreement on the communiqué at the level of delegations is already an achievement in itself. After recalling that “war affects us all no matter where we live, from Europe to the Middle East or Africa”, he recommended that “the easiest way to end the acute food and energy crisis is for Russia to end this senseless war and respect the Charter of the United Nations”.

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