Thursday, March 30, 2023

Pulse of the US and Russia in the G20 shows fractures of multilateral systems

The divergent positions between the United States with its Western allies and Russia on the war in Ukraine, faced today at the G20 meeting of foreign ministers, evidenced the fractures in the multilateral system after two consecutive meetings without agreement.

Thursday’s meeting repeated the same pattern that frustrated the G20 finance ministers meeting a week ago, with Russia and China showing their rejection of the same issues related to the war in Ukraine, key to the Group of Twenty.

With Washington and its allies on one side and Russia and China on the other, the forum of the world’s main economies and emerging countries was divided into two poles and it is increasingly difficult to make progress on other challenges that affect nations. on the whole.

Russia blames the West

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov directly blamed the West for thwarting the approval of a joint declaration with its efforts to bring the Ukrainian conflict to the fore.

“Unfortunately, the joint declaration of the G20 ministers was not approved; our Western colleagues, just like a year ago during the Indonesian presidency, tried (…) with lies and rhetorical statements, to bring the situation in Ukraine to the fore,” he said at a press conference.

The United States maintained that the damage to the system created to seek joint solutions to global challenges “in many ways comes directly from Russia, which has been violating the principles at the heart of that system; and the system was designed for a group,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The head of US diplomacy and his Russian counterpart held their first meeting on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in the Indian capital since the outbreak of the conflict with Ukraine, in which Blinken urged Moscow to end the war.

For his part, the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, had advanced the difficulties of an agreement at the end of today’s meeting, assuring that Lavrov brought to the meeting “the Russian narrative, denying the illegality of the war and not listening to all those who ask for a peace for Ukraine”.

The strong positions of Russia and the US were from the beginning a concern for India, the group’s rotating presidency and host of the event, which tried hard to allow fundamental issues such as the food and energy crisis, which especially affects the developing nations, will not be overshadowed by a lack of agreement.

“The world looks to the G20 to respond to international challenges,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the opening of today’s meeting, before noting that “global governance has failed” in its mandate to avoid wars .

The prime minister, whose government has so far not condemned the war in Ukraine or distanced itself from the Kremlin, admitted that these are times of global divisions.

Even so, “as the world’s leading economies also have a responsibility to those who are not in this room (…), we should not let the problems that we cannot solve together get in the way of those that we can answer,” he asked.

Friction between Washington and Beijing has escalated following recent tensions over the downing of the Chinese surveillance balloon and concerns that China was planning to arm Russia, something that Blinken warned today would have consequences.

The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wopke Hoekstra, also supported the US position and took advantage of the meeting to warn that it is “of vital importance” that the whole world “refrain from helping Russia to arm itself, as there will be consequences if some countries cross that line”, he declared in a meeting with the media in New Delhi.

china vs usa

China reacted to these comments by accusing the US of “fanning the flames of war” by “sending lethal weapons to Ukraine”. The reaction was made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning at the daily press conference.

“China has always maintained an objective and fair stance, determined to promote peace talks and a political solution to the crisis. China is always on the side of peace and dialogue,” she noted.

The highlight of the Group of Twenty will be the Summit of Heads of State and Government, which is scheduled to take place on September 9-10 in New Delhi.


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