The outcome document has used the language from last year’s G20 leaders’ Declaration in Bali with the footnote mentioning that the two paragraphs on the issue were “agreed to by all member-countries except Russia and China”.
“We reiterated our national positions as expressed in other fora… Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine… There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” the outcome document said, noting the differences.
“Russia and China didn’t want those two paras in the communique. It was agreed to by all countries. They didn’t agree because the leaders had prepared that, and it was fine for the circumstances that prevailed then and therefore now they didn’t want it,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, while noting the progress made on other fronts. Economic affairs secretary Ajay Seth said both Russia and China took the position that FMs and central bank governors have a mandate to deal with economic and financial issues and should not take a view on geopolitical issues.
“You cannot have a communique with a footnote,” explained an official involved with the exercise.
Any reference to the “war” has deeply divided the G7 members, led by the US, and Russia and China. In fact, at one point of time, Russian officials went on to say that the war did not start in February 2022 but in 2014, a reference to NATO commencing its support to “capacity building” in Ukraine. Besides, Russia insisted that there should be no reference to sanctions in the document, an official said.
Along with Mexico and Turkiye, finance ministers from Russia and China were not physically present at the meeting here. Sitharaman said discussions inside the negotiating room were “very cordial” and added that India will look at its interests in importing oil and other commodities.
Although India was seen to be among countries that did not oppose the inclusion of ‘war’ in the communique, officials argued that only the stated position of the country has been recognised in the outcome document.