G20 Finance Meeting To End Without Consensus On War In Ukraine

G20 Finance Meeting To End Without Consensus On War In Ukraine

US Treasury Secretary Yellen during a discussion with Indian technology leaders near Bangalore. © Thomson Reuters US Treasury Secretary Yellen at a roundtable meeting with Indian technology leaders near Bangalore.

Written by Aftab Ahmed and David Lowder

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Financial leaders from the world's biggest economies failed on Saturday to resolve differences over the war in Ukraine and move forward with steps to restructure the debt of troubled countries, people familiar with the talks said.

A meeting of Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors hosted by India could end without a joint statement as the three delegates failed to agree on how to describe the conflict in Ukraine. he told Reuters.

US Treasury Secretary Yellen addresses a roundtable discussion with Indian technology leaders near Bangalore. © Thomson Reuters US Treasury Secretary Yellen speaks during talks with Indian technology leaders near Bangalore

The United States and its allies in the G7 industrialized nations pressed for a statement calling for full condemnation of Russia for its neighbor's attack a year ago, but representatives of Russia and China opposed it. to that language.

G20 finance ministers, central bank governors and heads of delegations are taking part in a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors near Bangalore. © Thomson Reuters G20 finance ministers, central bank governors and heads of delegations G20 finance ministers and central bank governors attend a meeting near Bangalore.

Two of the delegates noted that Russia and China were upset that the G20 platform was being used to discuss political issues.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen earlier told Reuters that it was "absolutely necessary" to include a statement condemning Russia.

"And I think the G7 has come together around that, so I expect that's necessary and appropriate," he said.

Russia, a member of the G20 but not the G7, considers its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation" and avoids calling it an invasion or war.

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India is pushing for the meeting to avoid using the word "war" in any statements, G20 officials told Reuters.

India, which chairs the G20 this year, has maintained a neutral stance in the war, refusing to blame Russia for the attack, seeking a diplomatic solution and significantly increasing purchases of Russian oil.

India and China were among the countries that abstained when the United Nations voted on Thursday to call on Moscow to withdraw troops from Ukraine and end the war.

In addition to the G7 countries, the G20 bloc also includes countries such as Australia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

The delegates noted that the meeting will most likely end with a speech by the host summarizing the results of the discussions.

"In the absence of consensus, India's option would be to publish the bank statement," the official said.

India's Ministry of External Affairs, Finance and Information did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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In that regard, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held a meeting on Saturday with the World Bank, China, India, Saudi Arabia and the G7 to restructure the debt of troubled economies, but there were disagreements among members, Cristalina said. . . Georgieva, executive director of the IMF. .

"We just finished a session where it was clear that there was a consensus to iron out the differences for the benefit of the countries," Georgieva, who moderated the discussion with Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, told reporters.

A spokesman told Reuters that some initial progress had been made, particularly on language, but restructuring had not been discussed in detail.

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Yellen said the meeting, which was mostly an organizational one, had "no results."

Several more round tables are planned at the spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in April.

China, the world's largest bilateral lender, and other countries are under pressure to cut loans to developing countries.

In a video address to the G20 meeting on Friday, Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun reiterated Beijing's position that the World Bank and other multilateral development banks should participate in debt relief through joint reductions with bilateral lenders.

Yellen said she was urging all bilateral creditors, including China, to engage in meaningful talks ahead of the debt meeting, adding that Zambia's debt problem and Sri Lanka's financial guarantees were "very urgent".

According to government figures, Zambia owes Beijing nearly $6 billion of its $17 billion foreign debt at the end of 2021, while Ghana owes China $1.7 billion, according to the Institute of International Finance, a services trade body. Financiers focus on emerging markets.

The China Africa Research Initiative think tank estimates that by the end of 2022, Sri Lanka will owe Chinese creditors $7.4 billion, or about a fifth of its external public debt.

(Reporting by Shivanga Acharya, Sarita Singh, Aftab Ahmed, Christian Cramer and David Lowder; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by William Mallard and Francis Carey)

India's chairmanship of the G20. The Minister of Finance of Spain held a press conference as part of the G-20 meeting.

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