G20 meeting ends without consensus over Russia’s war in Ukraine

Finance chiefs of the world’s largest economies were unable to agree on a joint statement condemning Russia for its war on Ukraine on Saturday, with China and Russia itself declining to sign.

India, which as chair of the Group of 20 (G20) economies was hosting a meeting in the city of Bengaluru, was reluctant to raise the issue of the war but Western nations insisted they could not back any outcome that did not include a condemnation.

The lack of consensus among G20 members meant India resorted to issuing a “chair’s summary and outcome document” in which it simply summed up the two days of talks and noted disagreements.

“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,” it said, citing disruption of supply chains, risks to financial stability and continuing energy and food insecurity.

“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” it said, referring to measures put in place by the United States, European countries and others to punish Russia for the invasion and to starve it of revenues.

G20 meeting
India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks, as economic affairs secretary Ajay Seth and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das look on [Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters]

The outcome was similar to that of a G20 summit in Bali last November when host Indonesia also issued a final declaration acknowledging differences. The G20, formed more than 20 years ago to tackle economic crises, has increasingly struggled to reach the consensus needed to issue an official end-of-meeting communique.

“Although there was not what we would call a communique, but only an outcome statement, we still think we’ve made some progress in having all the ministers on board,” Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

German finance minister Christian Lindner said China’s refusal to join the declaration was “regrettable”.

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