Ukraine war, US-China tensions to dominate G20 foreign ministers meet
NEW DELHI: Foreign ministers from around the world are meeting in New Delhi this week in the shadow of Russia’s war in Ukraine and rising US-China tensions, with host India hoping to address issues like climate change and third-world debt not be overlooked.
The G20 foreign ministers’ meeting on March 1-2 comes days after a meeting of the bloc’s finance chiefs in Bengaluru, where they clashed over condemning Russia for the war, failed to reach consensus on a joint statement and themselves instead agreed on a summary document.
The outcome was similar to a G20 summit in Bali last November, when host Indonesia also issued a final statement acknowledging differences.
Last July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov walked out of a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, also in Bali, after the West harshly condemned the war.
The meeting in New Delhi will be attended by Lavrov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Britain’s James Cleverly, while China is expected to send its Foreign Minister Qin Gang. In total, representatives from 40 countries, including non-G20 members invited by India, and multilateral organizations will attend.
The G20 bloc includes the prosperous G7 democracies, plus Russia, China, India, Australia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, among others.
A meeting of the foreign ministers of the quad states – USA, India, Australia and Japan – is also to take place on the sidelines.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government wants to shift the focus of this week’s meeting to issues such as climate change and developing country debt, said an official at India’s foreign ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media .
India does not want Ukraine to dominate the event but it will be high on the agenda, the official said. However, he added that it is New Delhi’s “intent to continue to be the voice of the Global South and to address issues relevant to the region.”
At the foreign ministers’ meeting, attention will also be paid to how tensions are developing between Washington and Beijing, partly because of the war in Ukraine.
China, like Russia, declined to sign the summary statement by financial chiefs in Bengaluru.
Earlier Monday, China accused the United States of “threatening” peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait after a US military P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance plane flew through the sensitive waterway.
US-China relations were strained this month after the US military shot down a Chinese spy balloon allegedly floating over the United States. China says the balloon was a civilian research ship that accidentally went off course, calling the US response an overreaction.
The dispute prompted Blinken to postpone a planned visit to Beijing.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi said the US handling of the balloon incident was “unimaginable” and “hysterical”.
New Delhi has attempted to maintain a thorny neutral line in the Russia-Ukraine war.
While Modi has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that it is not time for war, India has refused to blame Moscow for the conflict, has sought a diplomatic solution and has sharply increased its purchases of Russian oil.
The disagreements over the conflict will be revived at this week’s meeting, said Anil Wadhwa, a former Indian diplomat and distinguished fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi.
“It is unlikely that the G20 foreign ministers can agree on a common language proposing ways and mechanisms to deal with the situation in Ukraine,” he said.
“The reasons are varied, but the main problem is that the situation in Ukraine has become extremely fluid.”
Source: Crypto News Deutsch