G-20 finance meeting overshadowed by Ukraine war.

While countries agreed on the majority of a briefer chair summary released by host nation Indonesia, which included the need to respond to the food and fuel crises, disagreement over the root cause prevented them from issuing a communique for the second time this year.

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Because of disagreements over Russia’s war with Ukraine, a meeting of 20 leading industrial and developing nations’ finance ministers and central bankers on Saturday ended without the usual communique, though there was incremental progress on issues such as food and energy security.

While countries agreed on the majority of a briefer chair summary released by host nation Indonesia, which included the need to respond to the food and fuel crises, disagreement over the root cause prevented them from issuing a communique for the second time this year. According to Bloomberg, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s finance minister, the Ukraine conflict is “an issue they cannot reconcile yet.”

As G-20 host this year, Indonesia has attempted to bridge G-20 member divisions over Russia’s invasion, but enmity over the conflict was evident even as finance ministers and central bank chiefs agreed on other global challenges exacerbated by the war, according to news agency AP.

All involved agreed the meeting took place “under a very challenging and difficult situation because of the geopolitical tensions,” Indrawati said.

Delegates “expressed sympathy that Indonesia has to manage this situation,” she said.

Indrawati and Indonesian central bank governor Perry Warjiyo both stated that Indonesia would issue a G-20 chair’s statement later that day, which would include two paragraphs describing areas where the participants could not agree.

Indrawati outlined a number of areas where members did agree, including the need to improve food security, support the establishment of a funding mechanism for pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response, work toward a global tax agreement, and facilitate financing of transitions to cleaner energy to combat climate change.

“Progress has exceeded expectations,” Warjiyo said.

With inflation at four-decade highs — US consumer prices rose 9.1% in June — Warjiyo stated that participants were “strongly committed to achieving price stability.”

“The G-20 is committed to a well-calibrated macroeconomic policy to address inflation and slowing growth,” he said.

The Bali meetings follow a meeting of G-20 foreign ministers earlier this month, which also failed to find common ground on Russia’s war in Ukraine and its global consequences.

During the Friday talks, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen blasted Moscow for “innocent lives lost and the ongoing human and economic toll that the war is causing around the world.”

“Russia is solely responsible for negative spillovers to the global economy, particularly higher commodity prices,” she said.

Canadian finance minister Chrystia Freeland likened the attendance of Russian officials at the meetings to having “an arsonist joining firefighters”. War is waged by economic technocrats, as well as generals, she said in a post on Twitter.

Russian officials reportedly blamed Western sanctions over the war for worsening inflation and food crises.

Indrawati said the closed-door G-20 talks did not include discussion of proposals for a price cap on Russian oil — one of Yellen’s key objectives as the US and allies seek to curb Moscow’s ability to finance its war.

Such discussions would have occurred on the sidelines of the meeting, she said.

Caught in the middle as host, Indonesia has urged officials from all sides to overcome mistrust for the sake of a planet confronting multiple challenges.

“The world needs even more and more collaboration. no matter what country … they cannot solve this problem alone. food security, energy, climate change, pandemic … all are interconnected,” Indrawati said.

 

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