G20 'consensus' but divided over Ukraine

·2-min read

The Group of 20 major economies' finance chiefs have reached what one calls a "strong consensus" on issues including global food security at a two-day meeting in Indonesia but remain divided over Russia's war in Ukraine.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the differences prevented the finance ministers and central bankers issuing a formal communique but the group agrees on a need to address a worsening food security crisis.

Western countries have enforced strict sanctions on Russia, accusing it of war crimes in Ukraine that Moscow denies. Other G20 nations, including China, India and South Africa, have been more muted in their response.

"This is a challenging time because Russia is part of the G20 and doesn't agree with the rest of us on how to characterise the war," Yellen said on Saturday.

Senior Western officials, including Yellen and Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Friday condemned the war and blasted Russian officials for the massive economic fallout it has caused.

Indonesian central bank governor Perry Warjiyo on Saturday urged member countries to stay focused on goals of global economic recovery as Russia's invasion - which it calls a "special military operation" - overshadows successive rounds of multilateral talks.

Analysts said the failure to agree on a communique reflected the weakness of the once-mighty economic grouping.

"We are in a rudderless moment in the world economy with the G20 paralysed by Putin's war and the G7 unable to lead on global public goods," said Kevin Gallagher, who heads the Global Development Policy Center at Boston University.

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, who chaired the two-day meeting, had hoped delegates could jointly address rising commodity prices, an escalating food-security crisis and the spillover effects on the ability of low-income countries to repay debt.

G20 members pulled together at the start of the pandemic, but initiatives to cushion the shock for heavily indebted poor countries failed to produce significant results.

Western countries, concerned about the lack of transparency in China's lending, were pressuring Beijing to restructure debt contracts and transform its role to "one that (contributes) to the country rather than to one of indebtedness and servitude," said US ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel.

Sri Mulyani is expected to issue a chair's statement summarising the events of the meeting.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting