No clear indication of consensus to describe Ukraine crisis in G20 leaders’ declaration

New Delhi: A day ahead of the G20 summit, there was no clear indication on Friday of a breakthrough in arriving at a consensus on the text to describe the Ukraine crisis in the joint leaders’ declaration with negotiations to bridge the differences on the contentious issue going down to the wire.

Multiple sources told PTI that China emerged as the main stumbling block to reach a consensus on the Ukraine conflict as well as some other proposals including on climate change.

The negotiations on all the sticky issues are continuing and there is hope of positive outcomes, they said.

Two sources said the G7 countries are not agreeable to any leaders’ declaration without reference to the Ukraine conflict, adding there are other sticky issues as well.

“But we are hopeful of overcoming them,” said a source.

The G20 operates under the principle of consensus and there have been apprehensions that the lack of a common view may result in the summit ending without a joint leaders’ declaration.

Both Russia and China had agreed to the two paragraphs on the Ukraine conflict in the Bali declaration last year, but they backtracked from it this year creating difficulties for India.

Almost all key meetings held under India’s G20 presidency including those of finance and foreign ministers, could not come out with consensus documents in view of opposition from Russia and China to any text referring to the Ukraine conflict.

India’s G20 sherpa Amitabh Kant said New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration will reflect the voice of the global south and developing countries.

“Our New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration is almost ready, I would not like to dwell on it because this declaration will be recommended to the leaders during the summit and the leaders will then accept it and only after it is accepted by the leaders, we will be able to talk about the actual achievements of this declaration,” he said.

“India’s expectation is that all G20 members will move towards a consensus and we are hopeful of a consensus on the communique,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said in response to a question on the possibility of Ukraine conflict holding up an agreement on the New Delhi Declaration.

European Council President Charles Michel told reporters on Friday that the European Union (EU) supports India’s efforts to finalise a consensus leaders’ declaration but asserted that the EU is firm and united in backing Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggression.

“I don’t know if this is possible or not to have an agreement on a final communique, we will see. But we will defend our principles and will also support the efforts made by India,” Michel said when asked on the possibility of the Ukraine crisis holding up the leaders’ declaration.

Michel said Russia is isolating itself from the international community even as he referred to the consequences of the Russian invasion on developing countries in terms of food and energy security.

In this context, he referred to Moscow’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

“I sincerely hope this G20 meeting is one more occasion to clarify Russian behaviour. Because by launching this war against Ukraine and by transforming the Black Sea into a battlefield, in fact, Russia is shooting a food missile against the developing countries,” Michel said.

The G20 member countries represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU).