G20 draft text on Ukraine does not go ‘far enough’: EU view
The text presented by the Indian side for negotiations on the draft leaders’ declaration for the G20 Summit does not go “far enough” on the Ukraine crisis, and Russia and China stand isolated on this issue.
The text presented by the Indian side for negotiations on the draft leaders’ declaration for the G20 Summit does not go “far enough” on the Ukraine crisis, and Russia and China stand isolated on this issue, a senior European Union (EU) official said on Wednesday.
Negotiators from the G20 members have agreed on the text regarding the tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030, seen as a major achievement, but so far have been unable to go beyond commitments made at last year’s G20 Summit in Bali on phasing out inefficient fuel subsidies and phasing down fossil fuels, the EU official said at a briefing.
Describing the Ukraine crisis as a priority for the EU, the official acknowledged that India, the G20 president, had abstained on all resolutions on the issue at the United Nations and is trying to strike a balance. He declined to say whether differences on the Ukraine crisis could hold up a consensus leaders’ declaration.
“We can’t say...because the negotiation is ongoing. It has been a very difficult negotiation...The text as it is presented by the Indians now is not enough for the G7 and EU...because it is not going far enough,” the official said.
The EU can’t accept the move by Russia and China to move away from text that was used in G20 Summit in Bali to refer to the Ukraine conflict. “If we have a [presidential statement], that will not be good but that might be an outcome,” the official said, adding the EU expects a consensus document to refer to Ukraine, the principles of the UN Charter and respect for territorial integrity.
The official contended that China and Russia are more “isolated” on this issue than the G7, which has agreed on common principles that states do not attack each other or use threats.
India has called for a cessation of hostilities without publicly criticising Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The differences between the G7 states on one side and Russia and China on the other have held up joint statements in all G20 ministerial meetings hosted by India.
The EU official brushed aside Russia’s stand that the G20 is an economic forum which cannot discuss geopolitical matters and said: “The G20 has evolved to [be] more political than we think. If you have leaders of the most important countries in political and economic terms, it’s an illusion that you would just address economic topics.”
While noting that the Ukraine crisis doesn’t figure at any one the sessions of the G20 Summit to be held during September 9-10 and that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hasn’t been invited to address the meeting, as was done at Bali, the EU official said: “But the fact that you can only have a statement or [leaders’] declaration with this question being tackled shows how prominent it will be.”
The negotiators agreed on text for tripling the production of renewables by 2030 after giving in to Saudi Arabia’s call that this should not be linked to any phasing down of fossil fuels, people familiar with the matter said. The EU official described this is a “great success” but cautioned that nothing is final till there is agreement on the full text.
The negotiators, however, couldn’t go beyond the commitments at the last G20 Summit on phasing out inefficient fuel subsidies or phasing down fossil fuels, particularly coal, because “positions are entrenched”, the EU official said.
India’s push for digital public infrastructure (DPI) also finds mention in the text being negotiated, and discussion is still going on financing of the concept since this is the first time the grouping discussed the matter in detail, the official said. The EU official said there has been a lot of interest in the concept which is mentioned in the text being negotiated. “[But it] doesn’t go as far as agreeing on financing it yet; this is the first time the concept was discussed in detail at the G20,” the official said, adding the concept was welcomed by most G20 members.
The negotiators also agreed on text on artificial intelligence (AI) on Wednesday, especially the intention to address challenges related to AI and its governance collectively at the international level, the official said.