Financial leaders from the world’s largest economies were unable to agree on a joint statement condemning Russia for its war on Ukraine on Saturday, with China and Russia refusing to sign it.
India, as the leader of the Group of Twenty (G20) economies meeting in Bangalore, was reluctant to raise the issue of war, but Western nations insisted they could not support any outcome that did not include condemnation.
The lack of consensus among G20 members led India to release a “Chair’s Summary and Outcome Document” in which it simply summarized two days of talks and noted the differences.
“Most members strongly condemn the war in Ukraine and note that it is causing massive human suffering and exacerbating the current fragility of the global economy,” it said, citing disruptions to supply chains, risks to financial stability and persistent food and energy insecurity. .
“There were other opinions and different assessments of the situation and the sanctions,” she said, referring to steps taken by the United States, European countries and others to punish Russia for the invasion and deprive it of income.
The outcome was similar to the G-20 summit in Bali last November, when the Indonesian host country issued a closing statement acknowledging the differences. The G20, which was formed more than 20 years ago to deal with economic crises, is increasingly struggling to find the consensus needed to issue an official statement after the meeting.
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Although there was no what we call an official statement, but only a statement of results, we still believe we have made progress in involving all ministers.”
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said China’s refusal to sign the statement was “regrettable”.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said earlier that it was “absolutely necessary” for any statement to condemn Russia. Two delegates told Reuters that Russia and China did not want to use the G20 platform to discuss policy.
Russia, which is a member of the G-20 but not a member of the G-7, has described its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”, avoiding describing it as an invasion or war.
India has maintained a largely neutral stance, refraining from blaming Russia for the invasion, seeking a diplomatic solution and aggressively increasing its purchases of Russian oil.
China and India were among the countries that abstained on Thursday when the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to demand that Moscow withdraw its forces from Ukraine and stop the fighting.
Apart from the G7 countries, the G20 also includes countries like Australia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki told reporters: “It has become difficult for the G-20 to engage in constructive discussions due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an act that shakes the foundations of the world order.
The management of the International Monetary Fund said that the International Monetary Fund held a meeting on the sidelines on Saturday with the World Bank, China, India, Saudi Arabia and the Group of Seven on restructuring the debts of troubled economies, but there are also disagreements between members. Directed by Kristalina Georgieva.
Georgieva, who co-chaired the roundtable with India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, told reporters: “We just finished a session in which it was clear that there was a commitment to closing the gaps for the benefit of the country.”
A delegate told Reuters that initial progress had been made mostly in terms of wording on the issue, but restructuring had not been discussed in detail.
Yellen said there was nothing to take away from the meeting, which was mostly organizational.
Further discussions are scheduled at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in April.
Pressure is mounting on China, the world’s largest bilateral creditor, and other countries to cut their lending to struggling developing countries.
In a video address to the G20 meeting on Friday, Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun reiterated Beijing’s position that the World Bank and other multilateral development banks should also engage in debt relief by taking debt reduction measures.
India’s push for tighter regulation of private crypto assets received broad support at the meeting.
Georgieva said policymakers “should not take off the table” the option of an outright ban if the regulations fail. Yellen did not endorse such a ban, but said a strong regulatory framework was necessary.