G20 meeting brought nations closer together

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, second from right, talk before the start of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China. Mark Schiefelbein / AFP
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, second from right, talk before the start of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China. Mark Schiefelbein / AFP

As Chinese president Xi Jinping closed the first G20 summit to be hosted in his country, the state-run media outlet People’s Daily Online announced that the event had “concluded with great success”.

But according to columnist Jihad Al Khazen in the pan-­Arab daily Al Hayat, each participant was “marching to the beat of their own drum”.

He said that Mr Xi had told each guest what they wanted to hear, while United States president Barack Obama had failed to alleviate the concerns of many countries about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s threats to break the country’s alliance with Japan and South Korea.

“Rather, Mr Obama’s talk about the possibility of nuclear terrorism that would destroy the world as we know it may have heightened these concerns,” he wrote.

German chancellor Angela Merkel wanted the summit to focus on Ukraine, Syria and the refugee crisis, while British prime minister Theresa May talked about her country’s post-Brexit future and its readiness to continue as a business hub.

“Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi held several meetings in a bid to reassure investors as to the stability of his country, and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a world war against terrorism,” the writer added.

But, he noted, what Mr Erdogan considers terrorism is not viewed as such by many other countries.

Russian president Vladimir Putin described his country’s relations with the US as “inert” or “frozen”.

“Despite the ongoing negotiations between Russia and the US to find a solution for Syria, the former supports Bashar Al Assad and calls for him to stay while the latter insists on him leaving,” Al Khazen noted.

The writer also noted that Russia maintains better relations with Saudi Arabia than with the United States, with Mr Putin praising Prince Mohammed bin Salman and calling him trustworthy.

For his part, the deputy crown prince met different leaders and discussed political and economic issues.

Al Khazen concluded that the best outcome of the G20 Summit was the ratification of the Paris Agreement by China and the US to cut climate-warming emissions.

The Lebanese columnist Samir Attallah said a look at the group photograph revealed a lot about the G20 summit.

The picture showed that Mr Xi enjoyed the company of Albanian leader and “proper ideologist” Enver Hoxha, Attallah wrote in the pan-Arab London-based daily paper Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Two ladies appear in the photo: the first, a former school supervisor who is now the leader of Great Britain and the second, a pastor’s daughter who has become the leader of Germany,” he added.

The writer also noted the presence of South Korea among the biggest nations and the absence of North Korea whose leader, Kim Jong-un, was “busy firing ballistic missiles in the direction of Japan and executing his ministers”.

Journalists had come to China by the hundreds, “most of them from imperialist countries”.

Attallah described the summit as “leaders talking the same language albeit in different accents, in the absence of campaigns, violence and threats”.

He concluded: “Yes there are disagreements, but reconciliation gets the upper hand. And yes there are obstacles, but efforts are being exerted. A third of a century ago, the world was completely different and would never have met in China.”

* Translated by Jennifer Attieh

translation@thenational.ae

Published: September 6, 2016 04:00 AM

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