G20 final day sees emergency meeting in Bali as war spills into Poland

Highly anticipated encounter between UK Prime Minister Sunak and Chinese President Xi cancelled because of scheduling issues

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The second and final day of the G20 summit opened in Bali on Wednesday, with world leaders reacting to overnight reports that a Russian-made missile had killed two people in Poland, extending the war in Ukraine into Nato territory.

An emergency meeting was convened by US President Joe Biden in a ballroom in his hotel with leaders from Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Italy, France, the UK and the European Commission after deadly explosions in Przewodow, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine.

All the nations that participated in the meeting were members of Nato, except Japan.

While Polish President Andrzej Duda has said the explosion was the result of a stray air defence missile fired by Ukraine and not an intentional attack, Mr Biden said the blame still lay with Russia due to the sheer volume of missiles fired at Ukraine on Tuesday, a record in the eight-month war.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and European Council President Charles Michel at an emergency meeting to discuss a missile strike on Polish territory near the border with Ukraine on the side line of the G20 leaders' summit in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on November 16. AFP

“It is unlikely … that it was fired from Russia,” Mr Biden said, citing the missile's trajectory. “I'm going to make sure we figure out exactly what happened.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was “very concerned” by the reports, his office tweeted.

“It is absolutely essential to avoid escalating the war in Ukraine,” said the tweet. “Mr Guterres sends his condolences to the families of the victims. He hopes that a thorough investigation will be conducted.”

Final communique

As consensus was emerging in Bali on Tuesday on the wording of a joint statement condemning the war, the latest attack is expected to heavily influence the final communique on the closing day of the summit.

In a surprise to many observers, Russia on Wednesday hailed the G20 leaders' declaration, which mentions the “immense human suffering” caused by the war in Ukraine, as a “balanced text” that Russian diplomats worked hard to influence.

Wrangling over the wording of the final document lasted until the final hours of the summit.

In a section on Ukraine — point three of the 52-point document — the leaders said: “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy — constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks.”

The document also noted there were “other views and different assessments of the situation” and said the G20 was “not the forum to resolve security issues”.

The Kremlin published a full and accurate Russian translation of the declaration on its website, a surprising move given that the wording was sharply critical of Moscow.

The statement used the word “war”, referred to “aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine” and mentioned demands from most of the G20 for Moscow's “complete and unconditional withdrawal” from Ukrainian territory.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the final text was an achievement for Russia.

“The difference in approaches and the difference in points of view were noted and recorded in the final declaration. Of course, our experts, the foreign ministry and our sherpa put in a lot of effort to ensure that such a balanced text was born,” he told reporters.

Much of the spotlight on Wednesday was on bilateral meetings the leaders have with Chinese President Xi Jinping, seen as a key figure who could influence the course of the war.

A highly anticipated meeting between UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who earlier pledged his solidarity in a call with Mr Duda, and Mr Xi, was cancelled, with scheduling issues after the morning's emergency meeting given as the reason.

He will also raise human rights concerns, Mr Sunak’s office said.

Mr Sunak will meet Mr Biden to talk about continued support for Ukraine and energy and hold talks with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier, both Mr Biden and Mr Sunak spoke with Mr Duda, assuring him of their solidarity.

Mr Biden said: “This morning we’ve already met with our fellow Nato and G7 leaders to address Russia’s latest missile strikes against Kyiv and Western Ukraine — it’s merciless. It’s way over the top.

“At the moment where world leaders meeting here in Bali are seeking progress on world peace, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s striking civilian targets, children and women. It’s almost — in my words, not yours — barbaric.”

Mr Biden reaffirmed the US’s commitment to Nato and offered full support with the investigations, the White House said.

He also spoke with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Updated: November 16, 2022, 3:17 PM
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