Russian team to assess G20 meet preparations, set to visit Delhi this week | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Russian team to assess G20 meet preparations, set to visit Delhi this week

By, New Delhi
Aug 01, 2023 04:52 AM IST

Russia is among G20 states sending an advance team to New Delhi this week to assess preparations for the summit

Russia is among G20 states sending an advance team to New Delhi this week to assess preparations for the summit of the world’s largest economies though Moscow is yet to take a call on President Vladimir Putin’s participation in the meeting, people familiar with the matter said.

Moscow is yet to take a call on President Vladimir Putin’s participation in the meeting (AP)
Moscow is yet to take a call on President Vladimir Putin’s participation in the meeting (AP)

Advance teams from several G20 member states are expected in the Indian capital on August 1 and 2 for meetings with Indian authorities to discuss logistics and other arrangements for the summit to be held during September 9-10.

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Also read: At G20 meet, consensus on nine principles of ‘blue economy’

These teams are also expected to discuss protocol and security issues and visit the venue for the G20 Summit, the Bharat Mandapam convention centre at Pragati Maidan, the people said. The Russian protocol team’s arrival is being seen as part of preparations by Moscow to ensure everything is in place if Putin decides to go ahead with in-person participation in the summit, they said.

However, one of the people cited above said the Russian side is yet to take a final call on Putin’s attendance. A decision in this regard is expected to be made by Moscow closer to the date of the summit, the person added.

Putin skipped the G20 Summit in Indonesia last November, the first high-level multilateral meeting of world leaders after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the previous G20 Summit in Italy in 2021, when he stayed away because of concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic. The Russian delegation at the summit in Bali was led by foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

Putin will also not attend the Brics (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit in Johannesburg during August 22-24. The Kremlin has said Lavrov will attend in-person and Putin will have “full participation” in this summit by video-conference. The Russian leader has not travelled abroad this year and there has been speculation as to whether he will leave the country in the wake of the recent mutiny by the Wagner group.

The people, however, said the Russian side had decided in principle that Putin would attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit hosted by India in July, before New Delhi opted to hold the meeting virtually.

Another round of visits by advance teams of G20 member states is expected to be held closer to the summit. Some member states, such as Japan, are not sending a team to India this week, the people said.

Also read: Climate is at core of India’s G20 agenda

Negotiators from G20 states are set to hold another round of virtual negotiations in early August on text to be used to refer to the Ukraine crisis in the draft leaders’ declaration to be adopted at the summit. There have been no consensus outcome documents at G20 ministerial meetings because of sharp differences on this issue.

Former ambassador Vivek Katju pointed to the shadow of the Ukraine crisis hanging over the G20 and said nimbler diplomacy will be needed to address this issue. “The visit of the Russian advance team indicates, at a minimum, that the Russians have not foreclosed options of participating in the G20 Summit at the highest level,” he said.

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