G20 foreign ministers’ meeting ends without a joint communique because of disagreements regarding Ukraine war

Both China and Russia expressed concerns over western countries’ attempts to compromise the real objective of the G20 by using the forum to push their geopolitical agenda

March 04, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
The G20 foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi (Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP)

The G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, March 2, failed to release a joint statement due to the disagreements over the war in Ukraine, after representatives of both Russia and China objected to the draft.

As per Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar, both Russia and China had strong objections to the two paragraphs of the draft statement borrowed from last year’s Bali conference, which demanded the unconditional withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukrainian territory. Jaishankar instead released a ‘Chair’s Summary and Outcome Document’ as an alternative to the joint statement.

Jaishankar also noted that on most issues related to the Global South, such as multilateralism, climate change, and food and energy security, there was broad consensus among the delegates.

After the meeting, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov announced that those present at the G20 meeting had agreed to bring the African Union into the grouping on the lines of the European Union, which is already a full member.

The meeting was attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with the foreign ministers of the world’s largest 20 economies.

Accusing western delegates of pushing the Ukrainian issue and ignoring the actual mandate of the G20, Lavrov said that “the West has sacrificed to its ambitions in Ukrainian affairs all areas of work that should constitute the core of the G20’s activities.”

Blinken, however, asserted that Russia’s war could not go unchallenged. He accused Russia of attacking the core principles of the UN charter by waging an “unjustified war against Ukraine” and hampering the process of the G20 meeting.

China reiterated its position that there was a need for a dialogue-based political solution to the war in Ukraine. However, its foreign ministry criticized attempts by the US to use the G20 forum for its own ends. It also suggested that the G20 was not the the appropriate forum for discussions regarding the war in Ukraine, noting that “the G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation.”