India’s G20 meeting ends without consensus on Russia-Ukraine war

Gathering of foreign ministers is marred by disagreements as Russia and China reject a joint statement that calls for end to war.

Russian foreign minister
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hit back against the West in his speech at a G20 meeting in New Delhi, accusing it of hypocrisy for arming Ukraine [Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Service/AP]

A meeting of the Group of 20 has ended without a consensus on the Ukraine war as China joined Russia in refusing to support a demand for Moscow to cease hostilities.

The two were the only countries at the gathering of G20 foreign ministers on Thursday in New Delhi not to agree on a statement demanding Russia’s “complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine”.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said there were “divergences” that could not be reconciled as “various parties held differing views”.

He added that members of the G20, a group of the world’s largest economies, agreed on most issues involving the concerns of less-developed nations “like strengthening multilateralism, promoting food and energy security, climate change, gender issues and counterterrorism”.

In a video address to the assembled foreign ministers, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged members not to allow current tensions to destroy agreements that might be reached on food and energy security, climate change and debt.

Ending the war in Ukraine

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who sat opposite her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, used the G20 meeting to address the longtime diplomat.

“Mister Lavrov, stop this war, Stop violating our international order, Stop the bombing of Ukrainian cities and civilians,” she said.

Lavrov hit back in his speech, accusing Western states of hypocrisy because they had been “pumping Ukraine full of weapons” for years.

According to remarks released by the US Department of State, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spent much of his time in the Indian capital describing Washington’s efforts to bolster energy and food security. He also told the meeting pointedly that Russia’s war with Ukraine could not go unchallenged.

“Unfortunately, this meeting has again been marred by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine, deliberate campaign of destruction against civilian targets and its attack on the core principles of the UN Charter,” Blinken said.

Blinken briefly met Lavrov on Thursday in the first high-level meeting in months between representatives of the two countries. US officials said they talked for fewer than 10 minutes on the sidelines of the conference.

In recent days, Washington has accused China of considering providing weapons to Russia for use in the war. Beijing has denied that allegation as a Chinese peace proposal for Ukraine drew praise from Russia and its ally Belarus but dismissals from the West.

China hit back on Thursday, accusing the US of promoting war by supplying Ukraine with weapons and violating Chinese sovereignty with support for Taiwan.

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

“While emphasising the need to respect and maintain the international order, the US has vigorously pursued illegal unilateral sanctions, putting domestic law above international law,” she said.

Ahead of the G20 meeting, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs slammed US policies, saying Lavrov and his delegation would use the gathering to “focus on the attempts by the West to take revenge for the inevitable disappearance of the levers of dominance from its hands”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies