Until now and as recently as at the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Gandhinagar this month, the “outcome document and chair’s summary” acknowledged Russia having “dissociated itself from the status of this document as a common outcome” due to the reference to the war in three paragraphs.
At the meeting of labour ministers in Indore and energy ministers in Goa, the phrasing underwent a change as it was noted that Russia “recognises the status of the document as the chair’s summary” with the inclusion of a para(concerning the Ukraine conflict), while agreeing with the rest. Russian acquiescence in the mention of the Ukraine conflict was significant, even though “it expressed its distinct view on the situation in Ukraine, geopolitical tensions and sanctions during the meeting,” the footnote said.
At the meeting of the energy ministers in Goa, which ended on Saturday, the same text was repeated, although Russia also expressed its concern over some of the contents related to climate change and ways to deal with it.
Significantly, while Russia has come around to agree to the reference to the mention of war over Ukraine, China has stuck to its stance on G20 not being the “right platform” to address security issues and has opposed the inclusion of the geopolitical content.
While government officials still see a unanimous document an uphill task, given the widely divergent views between some powerful members of the grouping of 20 largest economies, they see even modest success towards consenus as significant. In any case, they intend to keep focus on development issues, which need attention at a time when the global economy is battling high inflation and slowing growth.
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For increasing the degree of convergence on geo-strategic issues (read mutually acceptable phraseology over how to discuss the Ukraine issue and the breach of international law it represents), the ministry of external affairs and the G20 secretariat are in talks with other countries to find the best way forward.
“There is some movement and a lot of bilateral meetings have been taking place, in the light of the draft shared with the Sherpas at the recent meeting in Hampi. There have been some revisions to the draft for the leader’s summit,” said an official.
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