No Joint Statement from G20 Finance Ministers Meet as Members Differ Over Russia-Ukraine War

While India chose not to raise the Ukraine war, Russia and China objected to using G20 platform for discussing political matters.

New Delhi: The meeting of G20 finance ministers, which ended on Saturday, February 25, brought to the fore the difference of opinion among member countries in describing the Ukraine war. As a result, the meeting concluded without any joint statement being issued.

In the place of a joint statement, a G20 Chair’s Summary and Outcome Document was released, underlining the positions expressed by member countries in relation to Russia-Ukraine war. “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risk,” the summary and outcome document noted.

“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognising that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy,” the summary said, adding this particular paragraph of the statement was not agreed to by Russia and China.

Earlier Russia and China had asserted that no joint statement would be signed, which referred to the Ukraine war. Both countries had expressed disappointment over the use of G20 platform for discussing political matters.

India, for its part, had refrained from raising the issue in the first place, in line with its neutral stance on the issue and reiteration of its view that diplomatic channels should be employed to resolve the crisis.

The two-day meeting covered a wide range of issues, from debt relief to poorer countries, to digital currencies and payments, reforms of multilateral lending institutions like the World Bank, climate change and financial inclusion. There was also a discussion on “debt vulnerabilities” in low and middle-income countries, according to news agency PTI.

Indian finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, who was the chair, said, “Strengthening multilateral coordination by official bilateral and private creditors is needed to address the deteriorating debt situation and facilitate coordinated debt treatment for debt-distressed countries.” Her observations were made in relation to debt restructuring of Zambia, Ethiopia, Ghana and Sri Lanka.

The outcome from the two-day meeting was similar to G20 summit in Indonesia’s Bali last year. Member countries had also expressed their differences over Russia-Ukraine war. Last year, in November 2022, the declaration had read, “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine”. However, some member countries held “other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions”, news agency PTI reported.