Leaders of the Group of 20 nations have approved compromise language on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, overcoming differences between Moscow and the rest of the group that had threatened to derail hopes of a joint communique from this weekend’s summit.
(Bloomberg) — Leaders of the Group of 20 nations have approved compromise language on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, overcoming differences between Moscow and the rest of the group that had threatened to derail hopes of a joint communique from this weekend’s summit.
The phrasing is broadly similar to that agreed at last year’s summit in Bali, Indonesia, according to people familiar with the discussions. They asked not to be identified to describe internal deliberations.
The US and its allies had sought tougher phrasing than the Bali compromise to denounce what they see as Russia’s aggression, while Moscow wanted to weaken the reference — and for a time enjoyed the support of China. The compromise included language that would allow both sides to claim a diplomatic victory.
The main difference in the text agreed to this year is the removal of most phrasing that expressed divergent opinions over issues such as sanctions and direct condemnation of Russia’s war, replacing it with unanimously supported views backed up with references to United Nations principles.
The line in the Bali text that said “most members strongly condemned the war” isn’t repeated in this year’s draft, which instead highlights areas of agreement including the tenets of the UN Charter against using force and in favor of territorial integrity. The new draft also welcomes efforts to reach a “comprehensive, just and durable peace in Ukraine.” Unlike last year’s text, it leaves out the controversial issue of sanctions, on which the members couldn’t agree.
The final statement is again expected to directly refer to Russia’s war “in Ukraine,” rather than the war “against Ukraine,” phrasing that the US and its allies had sought and Moscow opposed.
This year’s version also includes “today’s era must not be of war” — a phrase Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has frequently repeated since the invasion.
Negotiations over the phrasing had run nearly around the clock in recent days. The preliminary agreement came as leaders were beginning the formal G-20 sessions Saturday in New Delhi.
Read More: What to Look For as Modi Hosts G-20 Summit in India: QuickTake
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier singled out China for blocking efforts to achieve consensus, telling Bloomberg News on the plane to India that the talks in the run-up to the two-day summit had been “challenging.”
Russia had accused the US and its allies of pressuring India over the language, though New Delhi had been pushing hard to ensure agreement on a communique.
Last year’s G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, witnessed similar tensions over climate and the war before leaders managed to produce a joint statement on both issues. Since then, however, US-China ties have continued to spiral while the BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to expand the club to 11 members, in a sign of resistance to the US-led world order epitomized by the G-7.
Sunak said the UK would “continue to make the case” to China that “what Russia is doing is wrong, and why it’s right to support Ukraine, particularly when it comes to food security.”
(Updates with leaders approving draft language)
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