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G-20 Latest: Top Diplomats Fail to Agree on Russia War Wording

G-20 Latest: Top Diplomats Fail to Agree on Russia War Wording
Signage of G-20 in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, March 2, 2023. Photographer: Prakash Singh/Bloomberg

Group of 20 foreign ministers failed to agree on language to describe Russia’s war in Ukraine during a two-day meeting in New Delhi, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said. 

Diplomats will issue an outcome document rather than a formal joint statement, Jaishankar added Thursday. At a similar meeting of finance ministers and central bank heads last week, Russia and China had also deviated from a previous agreement on language at a leaders meeting in Bali in November, objecting to the use of the word “war.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a brief encounter with his Russian counterpart on the sidelines of the meeting, their first in-person meeting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago. The top US diplomat pressed Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to move toward a peace deal with Ukraine and advocated for US citizens detained by Moscow, a Biden administration official said.

Key Developments

(All times local)

China Reinforces Position on Peace After Qin-Lavrov Meeting (7:27 p.m.)

China reinforced its position supporting “all efforts to promote peace and talks” on Ukraine after Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang held a meeting with Russian counterpart Lavrov on sidelines of the G-20 meeting. Beijing maintains its support for a political solution to the conflict, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a readout.

Blinken Pressed Lavrov in Rare But Brief Meeting (5:00 p.m.)

Blinken told Lavrov that the US and other international partners would continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, a senior State Department official told reporters in a phone briefing, speaking on condition of anonymity. The conversation lasted about 10 minutes, he said.

Debjit Chakraborty

@JournoDebjit

G-20 foreign ministers will issue an outcome document instead of a formal joint statement after failing to reach agreement on the language to describe Russia’s war in Ukraine I Hear @sudhiranjansen from the ground

bloomberg.com/news/articles/… via @bpolitics

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Blinken Says Foreign Ministers’ Meet ‘Marred’ by Russia’s War (1.45 p.m.)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his G-20 counterparts that their foreign ministers summit in New Delhi had been “marred” by Russia’s war in Ukraine, even as the world’s biggest economies needed to confront a number of other pressing global challenges such as the global food crisis and climate change.

“As representatives of the world’s leading economies, we have a responsibility to cooperate and deliver solutions on shared global challenges – the rest of the world expects this of us,” Blinken said, according to prepared remarks.

“Unfortunately, this meeting has again been marred by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine, deliberate campaign of destruction against civilian targets, and its attack on the core principles of the UN Charter,” he said.

Secretary Antony Blinken

@SecBlinken

I went to the today with two imperatives: First, to ensure that the G20 — with India at the helm — advances our shared goals, and second, to demonstrate how the U.S., together with our partners, is acting to meet the needs of the world. We succeeded at both.

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China Will Face Consequences if it Arms Russia, Hoekstra Says (11:40 a.m.)

China would face consequences if it decides to start shipping weapons to Russia, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Thursday amid broader US warnings that Beijing may begin offering Moscow military aid.

“What is important and what I will convey to each of the colleagues, including my Chinese colleague here, is that, you know, the truth here is not somewhere in the middle, there is only one country responsible and that is Russia, and therefore all others should clearly refrain from helping out Russia militarily,” Hoekstra told reporters. “That will have consequences if countries crossed that line, in my opinion.”

French Foreign Minister Says G-20 Must Stay Firm On Russia’s War (11:30 a.m.)

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said the G-20 needs to respond firmly like it did in the summit last year, according to remarks released by her delegation.

“The message at Bali was clear: as G-20, we need to deliver solutions that protect the most vulnerable, instead of leaving them to suffer from Russia’s war,” she said.

Baerbock Calls on Lavrov to End Russia’s War in Ukraine (10:30 a.m.)

Baerbock told Lavrov, who was sitting directly opposite her, to stop the war, to stop violating international rules and to stop bombing Ukrainian cities and civilians, according to a person familiar with the address.

Baerbock added that it was good that he was in the room to listen. At the last meeting of G-20 foreign minister in Bali last year, Lavrov had left the room before Baerbock’s speech.

Lavrov listened carefully to her speech, took some notes and at one point waved his hand, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Modi Warns of Global Divisions (9.15 a.m.)

The Indian leader warned that the ministers were meeting at a time of “deep global divisions.” However, “as the leading economies of the world, we also have a responsibility towards those who are not in this room.”

Modi also said the mechanisms of global governance had failed the developing nations of the Global South.

“After years of progress, we are at risk today of moving back on the Sustainable Development Goals,” Modi said in his address to the top diplomats. “Many developing countries are struggling with unsustainable debt while trying to ensure food and energy security for their people.”

Narendra Modi

@narendramodi

Addressing the Opening Segment of G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting. @g20org twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1…

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Japan Foreign Minister Hayashi to Attend Quad Meeting (6.00 a.m.)

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is set to attend a Friday get-together of top diplomats from the so-called Quad nations hosted by India — that also include Australia and the US — after he skipped the G-20 meeting in New Delhi to be present at a parliamentary committee in Tokyo.

Hayashi became the first Japanese foreign minister to miss a G-20 meeting of his counterparts, Kyodo reported, saying he only spoke for 53 seconds during the parliament session he was obliged to attend on Wednesday. The decision not to dispatch the foreign minister may have been more about internal politics in Japan, as opposed to sending any diplomatic message.

Read: Japan Foreign Minister Set to Attend Quad Talks Hosted by India

Washington Raising Rights Concerns With India, US Official Says  (9 p.m.)

The US has been raising human rights concerns in every meeting they have with Indian officials, a senior State Department official told reporters, and is aware of broader concern about potential backsliding in the world’s largest democracy as New Delhi hosts G-20 foreign ministers.

This year, in particular, is an important one to raise human rights concerns with India given the country will head into national elections in 2024, the official told reporters on Wednesday evening, declining to be named to speak candidly. Many of India’s partners similarly engage with them on human rights concerns, the official added.

Publicly, senior US officials have been reluctant to criticize India over human rights concerns, particularly in recent weeks over a tax raid on the BBC’s India offices after the British broadcaster aired a documentary examining Modi’s role in deadly 2002 riots in his home state of Gujarat.

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