G20 Summit 2023: Top diplomats of the G20 countries attended the much-awaited intergovernmental conference on Thursday in India's national capital, New Delhi amid the soaring tension between Russia and Ukraine over the ongoing war. Although the theme of the ongoing Summit was LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), the agenda was marred by the ongoing war.
In a video address to the assembled foreign ministers in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged them not to allow current tensions to destroy agreements that might be reached on food and energy security, climate change and debt. “We all have our positions and our perspectives on how these tensions should be resolved,” he said, adding that: “We should not allow issues that we cannot resolve together to come in the way of those we can.”
While several countries advocated New Delhi to force Moscow to initiate peace talks with its neighbouring nation, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lambasted his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, for overlooking the concerns raised by the G20 countries.
Here is the major development at G20 Summit 2023:
United States: Antony Blinken
The meeting, at one point, seems tense as Blinken raised the issue of energy and food security due to the ongoing "Russia's aggression" against Ukraine. He told the ministers pointedly that Russia’s war with Ukraine could not go unchallenged. “We must continue to call on Russia to end its war of aggression and withdraw from Ukraine for the sake of international peace and economic stability,” Blinken said.
He noted that 141 countries had voted to condemn Russia at the United Nations on the one-year anniversary of the invasion. Although Blinken met separately with the foreign ministers of Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa, it seems he was not in the mood to hold any individual meeting with his Russian or Chinese counterparts.
China: Qin Gang
Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang, while speaking at the event, underscored the importance of the summit and echoed his country's position for Ukraine. He said China would promote peace talks and added it would like to mediate negotiations between Moscow and the war-ravaged nation.
"No one should engage in power politics or even bloc confrontation. We need to practice true multilateralism, uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, and observe the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We need to follow the principles of dialogue on an equal footing and consensus-building through consultation," added Qin.
Russia: Sergey Lavrov
Addressing the Summit, Lavrov, also slammed his US counterpart and raised grave concerns over the intention of the West in the ongoing "special military operations". The Russian Foreign Minister underscored that the Biden administration has been forcing Kyiv to indulge in the "operation" as it wants to run its arms industry.
Also, he raised the recent Nord Stream pipeline blast issue and claimed that the US has been using its diplomatic channels to hide facts and avoid penalties.
"We are witnessing the degradation of international economic relations provoked by the West, their transformation into a weapon, including in the energy sector. [...] We insist on a fair and swift investigation into the terror attack with involvement of Russia and others concerned," he said, according to Sputnik news agency.
"They [Western countries] also refused to accept another fact in this context, which reflects the events that have taken place since then. I am referring to the terrorist act against the Nord Stream gas pipelines. Our proposal to include in the document the need for an impartial and honest investigation was categorically rejected by our Western partners," he added.
India: S Jaishankar
In his remarks at the G20 foreign ministers' meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, without mentioning the Ukraine conflict, said the grouping must find common ground and provide direction to the world though there are some “matters of sharp differences”. “Let us remind ourselves that this grouping bears an exceptional responsibility. We first came together in the midst of a global crisis and are today, once again, actually confronting multiple on,” he said.
During the meeting, he echoed bringing urgent reforms to the United States National Security Council (UNSC). “The number of members of the United Nations has quadrupled in this period. It neither reflects today's politics, economics, demographics or aspirations. Since 2005, we have heard sentiments for reform being expressed at the highest level,” he said.
“But as we all know, these are not materialised. The reasons are no secret either. The longer we put it off, the more the credibility of multilateralism stands eroded. Global decision-making must be democratised if it has to have a future,” he added.
The external affairs minister said the G20 countries “individually and collectively” have an obligation to contribute to international growth and prosperity. “Today's situation demands that we continue to live up to our international responsibilities. The G20 must be sensitive to the priorities and economic concerns of all our partners, especially those more vulnerable,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)
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