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regular-article-logo Saturday, 25 May 2024

Ukraine slams G20 declaration for omitting criticism of Russia, says ‘nothing to be proud of’

Delhi Declaration is being seen as a climbdown from the Bali Declaration at last year’s G20 Summit where Russia was identified as the aggressor

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 11.09.23, 06:21 AM
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a press conference, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a press conference, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023 AP/PTI

Ukraine on Saturday said the “G20 has nothing to be proud of” regarding the Delhi Declaration’s stance on “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine”, but acknowledged the efforts made by some “to include strong wording in the text”.

The Delhi Declaration is being seen as a climbdown from the Bali Declaration at last year’s G20 Summit where Russia was identified as the aggressor.

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The Ukrainian foreign office’s comment came as G20 member countries congratulated themselves on thrashing out the Declaration at the eleventh hour.

“G20 adopted a final declaration. We are grateful to the partners who tried to include strong wording in the text. However, in terms of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, G20 has nothing to be proud of,” Ukrainian foreign office spokesman Oleg Nikolenko wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“This is how the main elements of the text could look to be closer to reality,” Nikolenko added, while posting a screenshot of relevant parts of the Declaration with portions edited according to Kyiv’s liking, including the naming of Russia as the aggressor.

In a news conference on Sunday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov thanked India for preventing attempts to politicise the G20 Summit and “Ukrainise the agenda”.

French President Emmanuel Macron told a separate news conference that a consensus had been made possible by the general acknowledgment that the G20 was an economic forum and not one for evolving peace and stability.

Russia and China have remained steadfast on this from the first track meeting for this G20 in February, refusing to agree to the inclusion of any reference to the Ukraine war in the outcome documents.

As a result of their opposition, no joint statement was possible during any of the track meetings, and the Delhi Declaration at the Leaders’ Summit was the first to mention the war in this edition of the G20.

“Concerning the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and underscored that all states must act in a manner consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter in its entirety,” the Delhi Declaration said.

Macron, asked about the compromise on Ukraine at Sunday’s news conference, said: “Let’s be honest: G20 is not a forum for political discussions; G20 should not get stuck on such issues.”

Without identifying specific resolutions, he said 16 members had supported them, three had abstained and one (Russia) had voted against.

He was responding to a question on Ukraine and Russia, and might have been referring to the paragraphs related to the conflict in the Declaration.

Sources had earlier said that all member countries were keen on having a Summit declaration as G20 Summits had always ended with a joint statement. This provided the push to the negotiators to find a way out of the stalemate that had persisted for months.

Biden on rights

US President Joe Biden told a news conference in Vietnam, where he arrived from New Delhi on Sunday, that he had raised issues of human rights and freedom with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“As I always do, I raised the importance of respecting human rights and the vital role the civil society and a free press have in building a strong and prosperous country with Mr Modi,” Biden said.

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