G20 talks end in India without consensus on war in Ukraine

NEW DELHI (AP) — Top diplomats from the Group of 20 industrialized and developing nations ended their contentious meeting in New Delhi on Thursday with no consensus on the war in Ukraine, India’s foreign minister said, as talks on the war and China’s growing global influence dominated. much of the talks.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said there were “differences” on the issue of the war in Ukraine “which we could not reconcile because different parties had different views”.

“If we had perfect convergence of views on all issues, it would have been a collective statement,” Jaishankar said. He added that members were in agreement on most issues concerning the concerns of less developed countries, “such as strengthening multilateralism, promoting food and energy security, climate change, gender issues and the fight against against terrorism”.

Host India had called on all members of the fractured Group of 20 to reach consensus on issues of particular concern to the poorest countries, even if the wider East-West divide over Ukraine could not be resolved. And while others, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, chose to highlight their role in resolving global crises, the divide was palpable.

India was forced to release a president’s summary last week after a meeting of G-20 finance ministers after Russia and China objected to a joint statement that held back language. on the war in Ukraine taken directly from last year’s G-20 leaders’ summit. statement in Indonesia.

Thursday’s talks began with a video address to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign ministers. He urged them not to let current tensions destroy any deals that might be reached on food and energy security, climate change and debt.

“We are meeting at a time of deep global divisions,” Modi told the group, which included Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and their Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, saying their discussions would naturally be “affected by geopolitical tensions. of the day “. ”

“We all have our positions and our views on how these tensions should be resolved,” he said. “We must not allow problems we cannot solve together to get in the way of those we can.”

Winking at fears that the increasingly bitter rift between the United States and its allies on one side and Russia and China on the other looks likely to widen further, Modi said that “multilateralism is in crisis today”.

He lamented that the two main goals of the post-World War II international order – preventing conflict and fostering cooperation – were elusive. “The experience of the past two years – financial crisis, pandemic, terrorism and wars – clearly shows that global governance has failed in both its mandates,” he said.

Jaishankar then addressed the group in person, telling them that they “need to find common ground and provide direction.”

Blinken, according to remarks released by the State Department, spent much of his time outlining U.S. efforts to bolster energy and food security. But he also told ministers emphatically that Russia’s war with Ukraine could not go unchallenged.

“Unfortunately, this meeting has again been tainted by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine, its deliberate campaign of destruction against civilian targets and its attack on the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” he said. he declared.

“We must continue to call on Russia to end its war of aggression and withdraw from Ukraine in the interests of international peace and economic stability,” Blinken said. He noted that 141 countries had voted to condemn Russia at the United Nations on the first anniversary of the invasion.

Several G-20 members, including India, China and South Africa, chose to abstain in this vote.

Blinken and Lavrov spoke briefly Thursday at the first high-level meeting in months between the two countries. US officials said Blinken and Lavrov chatted for about 10 minutes on the sidelines of the G-20 conference.

As well as attending the G-20 and seeing Modi and Jaishankar individually on Thursday, Blinken met separately with the foreign ministers of Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa, and was also due to meet. meet with the foreign ministers of the Netherlands and Mexico. .

As with most international events since last year, the split over the war in Ukraine and its impact on global energy and food security has overshadowed the debates. But as the conflict drags on over the past 12 months, the rift has widened and now threatens to become the main irritant in US-China relations that were already on rocks for other reasons.

A Chinese peace proposal for Ukraine that drew praise from Russia but layoffs from the West did nothing to improve matters, as US officials have repeatedly accused China in recent days of consider supplying arms to Russia for use in war.

Blinken said Wednesday the Chinese plan rings hollow given its emphasis on “sovereignty” compared to its own recent actions.

“China cannot have it both ways,” Blinken told reporters in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, before heading to New Delhi. “He cannot publicly portray himself as a force for peace, while somehow he continues to fuel the flames of this fire that Vladimir Putin started.”

He also said there was “no evidence” that Putin was truly prepared for diplomacy to end the war. “On the contrary, the evidence all points the other way,” he said.

China hit back at the comments on Thursday, accusing the United States of promoting war by supplying arms to Ukraine and violating Chinese sovereignty by backing Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.

“The United States says it wants peace, but it is waging wars around the world and inciting confrontation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning told reporters in Beijing.

“While emphasizing the need to respect and maintain the international order, the United States has vigorously enforced unlawful unilateral sanctions, placing domestic law above international law,” she said. “What the United States should do is reflect on itself, stop confusing the public and making irresponsible remarks, take its responsibilities seriously, and do something to promote the de-escalation of the situation and the talks. of peace.”

In the meantime, Moscow has consistently pushed its point that the West, led by the United States, is trying to destroy Russia.

Ahead of the meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized US policy, saying Lavrov and his delegation would use the G-20 to “focus on the West’s attempts to avenge the inevitable disappearance of the levers of dominance of his hands. ”

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