Opening day of G20 summit concludes with calls for end to war

Draft communique being prepared condemns Russian assault on Ukraine

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A majority of the world leaders gathered for the G20 summit are set to condemn Russia’s war on Ukraine, diplomats said on Tuesday, referring to a draft communique being prepared for Wednesday's closing.

The draft is said to acknowledge differing views on the conflict and sanctions against Russia, and points to security issues not being part of the G20's agenda.

Unverified reports said the leaders may reach a compromise statement by referring to the “war in Ukraine” rather than “Russia’s war in Ukraine”.

Apart from the round-table gatherings, the first day of the conference on the Indonesian island of Bali witnessed a series of bilateral side meetings between the leaders, mainly over issues involving the global fallout from the conflict.

The urgency of discussions to resolve the Ukraine crisis came as Kyiv was struck by one of the largest bombardments of Russian missiles and drones so far in the eight month war.

While issues including climate change and the stability of crude markets were also addressed, the war was the summit’s predominant topic of discussion, with host nation Indonesia's President Joko Widodo calling for a united stand among members to tackle inflation and food and energy security.

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed, who attended the summit, said the challenges faced by the world could only be addressed through conversation and joint efforts, and affirmed the country's position in pursuing a better future for everyone.

“I was honoured to participate in the G20 Summit in Bali,” Sheikh Mohamed said. “Our world faces complex challenges that can only be addressed through dialogue and co-operation. The UAE is committed to working with the international community to pursue solutions that promise a brighter future for all.”

The G20 member nations are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the EU.

Indonesia invited other nations to the summit, including the UAE, Singapore, Cambodia and Ukraine.

Addressing the summit via video, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to world leaders to help stop Russia's attack on his country.

He told what he called the “G19" countries — indicating a group without Russia — that the war should be ended justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law.

Mr Zelenskyy, proposing an all-for-all prisoner swap with Russia, presented a 10-point peace plan to end the war, including a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes and a peace treaty with Moscow.

He also urged the leaders to use all their power to “make Russia abandon nuclear threats” and implement a price cap on energy imported from Moscow.

Mr Zelenskyy had a full room during his address, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Mr Lavrov, attending in place of President Vladimir Putin, then responded to Mr Zelenskyy, repeating Mr Putin's stand that Russia was fighting neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

Mr Lavrov had a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to discuss the Black Sea Grain Initiative that allows Ukraine to resume exports from ports that had been blocked due to the war.

The deal is up for renewal on November 19.

Ukraine is one of the world's top grain producers, and the war had blocked 20 million tonnes of grain in its ports before the UN and Turkey brokered the deal in July.

Against that backdrop, a side meeting took place between Mr Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.

The two leaders touched upon several of the often contentious issues in the US-Turkish relationship.

The White House said Mr Biden expressed condolences for the deaths of six people in a bomb attack on a busy street in Istanbul on Sunday, underlining that “we stand with our Nato ally”.

The meeting also covered the Ukrainian grain exports deal.

Mr Biden also met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose co-operation is needed to secure a US-sought price cap on Russian oil.

No coal

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the summit, the US, Japan, Canada and six European nations pledged on Tuesday to raise at least $20 billion to help wean Indonesia off coal and reach carbon neutrality by 2050, a decade earlier than planned.

Mr Widodo said the deal could be used as a model to be replicated for other countries to meet climate goals.

Earlier in the day, the world’s most powerful leaders arrived in Bali seeking to mend fractured opinions on the Ukraine war and its fallout.

“Being responsible means ending the war,” Mr Widodo said in his opening remarks. “If the war does not end, it will be difficult for the world to move forward.

“We should not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall into another world war.”

Indonesia is South-East Asia’s only G20 member and the first in the region to host the summit. It will pass the presidency to India, which will take the chair starting on December 1.

G20 member nations account for 80 per cent of the world’s economic activity and two-thirds of its population.

The summit was the first for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italy's new premier Giorgia Meloni.

In her first meeting with Mr Biden, Ms Meloni discussed support for Ukraine, stability in the Mediterranean and the Indo-Pacific regions and ties with China.

Mr Sunak is expected to meet Mr Biden on Wednesday.

China and Australia held their first formal summit in more than five years, hoping to end years of animosity that has hampered trade ties.

“I'm very pleased we are having this meeting today,” Australian PM Anthony Albanese said at the start of the meeting with Xi Jinping.

Spain's PM Pedro Sanchez, who also met with Mr Xi, urged the Chinese leader to use his influence over Mr Putin to end the war.

Updated: November 16, 2022, 3:06 AM
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL