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G20 Summit: New Delhi declaration almost ready, will Russia-Ukraine war impede consensus?


G20 Summit: The world leaders are in New Delhi for the 18th G20 Summit which will begin on 9 September. US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting on Friday and soon the minutes of the meeting will be out. One of the major questions around the G20 Summit will be about the New Delhi declaration and as per Indian officials, the declaration is almost finalized.

“New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration is almost ready, I would not like to dwell on it as this declaration will be recommended to the leaders,” India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant told in a news conference.

The negotiators representing the G20 major economies have faced prolonged challenges in reaching a consensus regarding the wording of the document. These difficulties primarily stem from their varying positions in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Their objective is to secure the participation of Moscow and Beijing in order to draft a joint statement that addresses urgent global issues such as debt and climate change alongside the aforementioned conflict.

The upcoming G20 Summit in New Delhi, set to take place over the weekend, is expected to be heavily influenced by Western nations and their allies. Notably, Chinese President Xi Jinping has opted to forgo attendance, instead sending Premier Li Qiang as his representative. Similarly, Russian President Vladimir Putin will also be conspicuously absent from the event.

European officials on Friday supported India’s efforts to finalize a consensus leaders’ declaration over the weekend. European Council President Charles Michel said that they would support India even if it remains ‘firm and united’ in backing Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggression.

“I don’t know if this is possible or not to have an agreement on a final communique, we will see. But we will defend our principles and will also support the efforts made by India,” HT quoted Michel as saying.

No consensus during ministerial meetings

The firm position regarding the Russia-Ukraine war has impeded any consensus from being reached during the ministerial meetings held under India’s G20 presidency this year. As a result, the responsibility to navigate this issue and potentially find a solution now falls on the leaders themselves.

The Indian government, under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, is presenting its presidency of the G20 and the upcoming summit as an opportunity to highlight the country’s rapidly expanding economy and its increasing significance in the global geopolitical hierarchy.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Updated: 08 Sep 2023, 10:07 PM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.