G20 talks enter final day as emergency meeting held over Poland blasts

The schedule at the summit was disrupted by an emergency meeting to discuss reports of a missile landing in Polish territory near Ukraine

Reuters
Published : 16 Nov 2022, 03:51 AM
Updated : 16 Nov 2022, 03:51 AM

Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) economies will hold a second day of talks on Wednesday, although the schedule at the summit was disrupted by an emergency meeting to discuss reports of a missile landing in Polish territory near Ukraine.

NATO member Poland said that a Russian-made rocket killed two people on Tuesday in eastern Poland near Ukraine, and it summoned Russia's ambassador to Warsaw for an explanation after Moscow denied it was responsible.

The blasts came after Russia struck cities across Ukraine with missiles, attacks that Kyiv said were the heaviest wave of strikes nearly nine months into the Russian invasion.

Leaders from the Group of Seven nations as well as Spain and the Netherlands, who are all on the Indonesian island of Bali for the G20 summit, held an emergency meeting in response to the missile strike in Poland. The G7 nations include the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Britain and Japan.

The G20 leaders' meeting on Wednesday will be important to raise their awareness of the war in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Tuesday after reports of the blasts in Poland.

Russia's defence ministry denied reports that Russian missiles had landed in Poland, describing them as "a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation".

G20 leaders were due to visit a site in Bali to plant mangroves on Wednesday morning, although the schedule of the meeting hosted by Indonesia has not always run to plan.

A Western-led push to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine dominated Tuesday's talks.

President Vladimir Putin's Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine has pummelled the global economy and revived Cold War-era geopolitical divisions just as the world was emerging from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As at other recent international forums, the United States and its allies were seeking a statement from the G20 summit against Moscow's military actions.

But Russia, whose forces pounded cities and energy facilities across Ukraine even as the G20 met, said "politicisation" of the summit was unfair.

"Yes, there is a war going on in Ukraine, a hybrid war that the West has unleashed and been preparing for years," said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, repeating Putin's line that military alliance NATO's expansion had threatened Russia. Lavrov is representing Putin at the summit.

DECLARATION ACKNOWLEDGES RIFT

A joint G20 communique, which would need to be agreed by all parties, appears unlikely this year, with Indonesia instead pushing for a leaders' declaration, diplomatic sources say.

A 16-page draft declaration seen by Reuters, which diplomats said was yet to be adopted by leaders, acknowledged the rift over the Ukraine war.

"Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy," it said.

"There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions."

The draft also said "the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible".

The West has accused Russia of making irresponsible statements on the possible use of nuclear weapons since its invasion of Ukraine. Russia has in turn accused the West of "provocative" nuclear rhetoric.

The 19 countries in the G20 together with the European Union account for more than 80% of the world's gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of its population.

Host Indonesia has pleaded for unity and a focus on problems like inflation, hunger and high energy prices, all exacerbated by the war.

The draft summit document also said G20 central banks would calibrate monetary tightening with an eye on the global inflation problem, while fiscal stimulus should be "temporary and targeted" to help the vulnerable while not hiking prices.

On debt, it voiced concern about the "deteriorating" situation of some middle-income countries and stressed the importance of all creditors sharing a fair burden.

Some civil society groups blasted the G20 draft declaration for failing to take action on hunger, not strengthening efforts to fund development, and losing sight of an earlier commitment to provide $100 billion in climate financing by 2023.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher