No joint statement at G20 summit as group splits on Gaza, Ukraine

Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meet at the G20 meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo/AP)

The first G20 finance ministers' meeting of the year has ended without a joint statement due to deep divisions over the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, officials have said.

"It isn't possible (to reach) a final statement," Brazil Finance Minister Fernando Haddad told a news conference on Thursday.

"The impasse, as usual, is over the ongoing conflicts," he said, without explicitly mentioning Russia's attacks on Ukraine or Israel's war on Palestine's Gaza.

"We had nurtured the hope that more sensitive geopolitical issues could be debated exclusively" by the group's foreign ministers, who held a meeting in Rio de Janeiro last week that likewise failed to produce a joint statement.

Haddad said that on financial issues, the G20 group - which represents 80 percent of the global economy — was unified.

"But since the meeting last week in Rio de Janeiro didn't reach a joint statement, that ended up contaminating the establishment of consensus" at what Brazil had hoped would be a purely economic policy meeting, he said.

Host country Brazil has an ambitious agenda to use the rotating G20 presidency to amplify the voice of the global south and tackle inequality and the climate crisis.

But that was overshadowed by what it called an "impasse" at the two-day meeting in Sao Paulo.

No 'business as usual'

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner had earlier said his country planned to insist on any final statement addressing Russia's two-year-old war in Ukraine.

The war has split the G20, with Western countries condemning the attacks and pouring military and financial aid into Ukraine.

Russia - also a G20 member - has meanwhile courted support from fellow emerging powers such as Brazil, China and India.

The group is also divided over Gaza, with the United States and Western allies reluctant to condemn Israel, even as non-Western members grow increasingly critical of a spiralling humanitarian crisis there.

"We can't have business as usual at the G20 when there's a war in Ukraine, Hamas terrorism and the humanitarian situation in Gaza," Lindner told journalists.

"We oppose avoiding those issues. Even if we're central bankers and finance ministers, we represent the values of our countries and must defend the international rules-based order."

The meetings are meant to lay the groundwork for the annual G20 leaders' summit, to be held in Rio in November.

Despite a push from Western countries for the group to condemn President Vladimir Putin, the G20's last summit, held in New Delhi in September, ended with a watered-down statement that denounced the use of force but did not explicitly name Russia.

The divisions do not look to have abated.

"Obviously, we want to name Russia as the aggressor, and Ukraine as the victim," a French official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Source: TRT