• Sunday, September 24, 2023


Ukraine thorn persists as Delhi G20 draft declaration leaves war paragraph blank

A diplomat from the EU said India was doing an “excellent” job as the host in looking for compromises on the matter and accused Russia of creating obstacles.

G20 sherpa Amitabh Kant (centre) along with foreign secretary Vinay Kawatra (left), G20 Chief Coordinator Harsh Shingla and Ajay Seth, secretary of the department of economic affairs under the Indian finance ministry, address a press conference in New Delhi ahead of the G20 summit on Friday, September 8, 2023. (ANI Photo/ Ayush Sharma)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE conflict in Ukraine continued to be a major puzzle for the G20 negotiators to crack as they were unable to settle disagreements ahead the Delhi summit over the wording on the declaration on the war which broke out in February last year, according to a draft seen by Reuters.

It now rests on the leaders of the bloc to find a breakthrough as they gather for the two-day event starting Saturday (9).

The 38-page draft that was circulated among the member states left the “geopolitical situation” paragraph untouched while agreeing on the 75 other paragraphs that included key issues such as climate change, cryptocurrencies and reforms in multilateral development banks, Reuters added.

G20 sherpas were finding a tough time in agreeing over the language, thanks to differences over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, hoping to get Moscow on board to produce a communique.

Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 sherpa, said earlier on Friday 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”.

Reuters cited a source as saying that a joint declaration may or may not come to a deal agreed by all. It could either have different paragraphs stating views of different nations or could record the disagreement and dissent in one paragraph.

“We may paper over the differences and make a general statement saying we should have peace and harmony across the world so that everybody agrees,” a second source was quoted as saying by the news outlet.

A top source in one of the G20 nations said the paragraphs on the Ukraine conflict had been agreed by the western nations and was sent to Moscow for its views, Reuters added.

The official added that Russia could accept the western nations’ views and give its dissent as part of the statement. If there is no agreement, New Delhi will have to issue a chair statement and that would mean that the G20 will not a declaration, first time in its two decades of summits.

A diplomat from the European Union said India was doing an “excellent” job as the host in looking for compromises on the matter and accused Russia of blocking a compromise acceptable for everybody else.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is not attending the summit along with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Russia is represented by its foreign minister Sergey Lavrov while Chinese premier Li Qiang is representing Beijing.

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