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G20 Summit Negotiators Deadlocked Over Ukraine Language in Declaration, Leaders to Seek Resolution

According to a draft obtained by Reuters, G20 negotiators failed to reach an agreement on the language of the summit declaration regarding the Ukraine war. Any potential progress will now depend on the bloc’s leaders during the two-day meeting.

Members agreed to the 75 other paragraphs in the 38-page draft, including those on climate change, cryptocurrencies, and reforms to multilateral development banks, but left the “geopolitical situation” paragraph blank.

G20 sherpas have been working diligently for days to create a communique due to linguistic disagreements over the war, and they are actively seeking Russia’s support in this endeavor.

Amitabh Kant, the G20 sherpa for India, stated earlier in the day that the “New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration is almost ready, I would not like to dwell on it … This declaration will be recommended to the leaders.”

A united declaration might or might not receive unanimous support, a source told Reuters. It might have various paragraphs expressing the opinions of various nations. Or, it could include both support and opposition in a single paragraph.

A second source said that to get everyone to agree, “we may paper over the differences and make a general statement saying we should have peace and harmony across the world.”

Another senior G20 official confirmed that Western nations approved the paragraphs on the Ukraine war and shared them with Russia for comment.

The representative added that Russia could either accept the Western nations’ viewpoints and include its disagreement in the statement. If no agreement is reached, India will be required to issue a chair statement. This would mark the first time in the G20 summit’s 20-year history that it concludes without a formal declaration.

An EU ambassador praised India’s “excellent” performance in its role as host in seeking out agreements.

“But so far Russia is blocking a compromise that is acceptable otherwise for everyone else.”

According to the text, the group decided to address debt risks in low- and middle-income countries “in an effective, comprehensive, and systematic manner,” but did not create a new action plan.

Additionally, the draft shows that nations supported stricter cryptocurrency regulation. They also committed to enhancing and reforming international development banks.

Global recognition acknowledged the need for $4 trillion in low-cost funding for the annual energy transition.

To ensure the smooth operation of the nation’s most crucial gathering, authorities closed businesses, companies, and schools on Friday, leaving India’s typically bustling capital with desolate streets.

Additionally, authorities removed monkeys and stray dogs from the streets while demolishing slums.

It is anticipated that the West and its allies will exert dominance over the two-day summit, commencing in New Delhi on Saturday. Vladimir Putin of Russia and Chinese President Xi Jinping will both be absent from the summit. Premier Li Qiang will take his place.

United States President Joe Biden, along with leaders like Germany’s Olaf Scholz, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Rishi Sunak, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Bin Salman, and Japan’s Fumio Kishida, will attend.

Ministerial meetings held this year under India’s G20 chair have struggled due to a tough stance on the war. Consensus on any communique has proven elusive, leaving leaders to search for a possible workaround.

China declared on Friday that it is ready to collaborate with all parties and strive towards the summit’s success.

Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, responded to a media story. The story stated that Sunak had accused China of holding up an agreement on several topics, including Ukraine.

In New Delhi, Sunak emphasized that it wasn’t his role to advise India on how to feel about the conflict in Ukraine.

Sunak told the Indian news agency ANI: “It’s not for me to tell India what positions to take on international issues, but I know India rightly cares about the international rule of law, the UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity.”

India has refrained from blaming Moscow for the conflict and has sought a resolution through negotiation and diplomacy. Sunak would advise his Indian counterpart to “call out” Russia for its invasion in February 2022, according to a story in the Financial Times on Thursday.

Modi’s administration positions India’s leadership of the group and the summit as a showcase for the nation’s rapidly growing economy and geopolitical status.

To prepare for the event, authorities have adorned New Delhi with a new summit location, fountains, flowerpots, and lighting on main streets. They’ve also deployed thousands of armed security personnel on duty.

On Friday, more than 100 Tibetan refugees protested outside of the city centre to demand that the summit address China’s “occupation” of their nation.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed willingness to collaborate with India. This collaboration aims to assist in crafting a communiqué after the summit, despite acknowledging the difficulty.

The proposal made no mention of phasing out fossil fuels.

According to Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, G20 leaders can stop the “spinning out of control” climate crisis. He also encouraged them to update the unjust and out-of-date global financial laws.

In a speech, Guterres stated that “the climate crisis is worsening dramatically, but the collective response is lacking in ambition, credibility, and urgency.”

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