G20 delivers hard-fought declaration for peace – Asia Times
JAKARTA – Stung by the loss of the strategic city of Kherson, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s concerted missile barrage on Ukraine the previous night appears to have been responsible for the surprisingly strong final declaration from the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Bali on Wednesday.
As the head of the Moscow delegation, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, abruptly flew off the island the night before, leaders condemned ‘in the strongest possible terms’ the Russian invasion and its impact on global food and energy supply lines.
President Joko Widodo said negotiating the declaration had been extremely difficult, with diplomats working until midnight on the wording. But he hailed the 52-paragraph agreement for condemning the war “because it violated the borders and the integrity of the region”.
A statement is slightly more nuanced than a statement, but either way seeks to capture the meaning of an event. As one diplomat put it, “Indonesia will come out of this feeling very satisfied. It’s absolutely more than they thought they could get.
Point 3 of the Bali document referred to the United Nations General Assembly resolution of March 2, 2022, adopted by a majority, which deplored Russian aggression against Ukraine and demanded its complete and unconditional withdrawal.
“Most members strongly condemned the war,” he said. “It is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy, stunting growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, increasing energy and food insecurity, and heightening risks to financial stability. “.
The statement acknowledged that there were “other views and different assessments of the situation and associated sanctions”, but added: “Recognizing that the G20 is not the forum for resolving security issues, we recognized that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.”
He said that respect for international law and the multilateral system was essential to safeguard peace and security, including the defense of the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and respect for international humanitarian law – as well as the protection of civilians and infrastructure.
“The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” he continued. “The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to deal with crises, as well as dialogue and diplomacy are essential. Today’s era should not be one of war.
The leaders called on Russia to renew the Black Sea Grains Initiative, which has so far enabled the export of 11 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he planned to meet with Putin to help avert an impending global grain shortage. chemical fertilizers.
With Brazil and Mexico absent from the summit meeting entirely, Widodo said the remaining 17 leaders unanimously adopted the declaration – despite what he called a “heated debate” and widespread reports that Lavrov rejected the project from the start.
Diplomatic sources say this suggests his replacement, veteran finance minister Anton Siluanov, ended up backtracking on the wording instead of ‘blowing up’ the whole process, as happened at some previous summits. where contentious issues have arisen.
For Chinese President Xi Jinping, the overnight strikes may have been the last straw. In recent weeks, there have been signs that he is growing increasingly unhappy with Putin’s nuclear rhetoric and the war’s impact on the global economy.
But he made some mockery of the West. Clearly addressing the United States, Xi said, “Drawing ideological lines or promoting group politics and bloc confrontation will only divide the world and hinder global development and human progress.”
“No one should engage in begging practices, build a ‘little yard with high fences’ or create closed, exclusive clubs,” he said in reference to security pacts created last year between Washington and its Asian allies. .
On Monday, China was also among 14 countries that voted against a UN resolution calling for Russia to be held responsible for paying reparations for damage caused during the war. Indonesia and three other G20 countries abstained.
Sources believe Indonesia’s independent foreign policy, the obvious goodwill shown towards the hosts as they sought to navigate their way through the geopolitical minefield – and the vibe of Bali – contributed to the success Summit.
It was not without wanting to try. Guided by Dian Triansyah Djani, former ambassador to the UN and special adviser to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, the G20 diplomats had indeed begun their work five days before the summit was convened.
With his forces unable to make inroads on the ground, Putin has increasingly turned in recent weeks to a scorched-earth strategy aimed at destroying Ukrainian power plants and other infrastructure as months of war approach. extremely cold winter.
Immediate attention focused on a Russian-made missile landing in Poland, but after an emergency meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden said he would not It wasn’t clear he was from Russia.
US officials believed it may have been a Ukrainian anti-aircraft rocket fired at an incoming Russian missile, one of more than 100 that fell on cities in the west, the east and south and left half of Kyiv, the capital, without electricity.
“I call on all parties to refrain from escalating tensions,” President Joko Widodo said in his closing speech. “I have always said that war will only bring devastation, so we must stop war.”
Cast in the unfamiliar role of statesman, Widodo made the same appeal in his opening remarks on Tuesday, effectively conceding that the war had marred Indonesia’s efforts to showcase the gathering to attract more investment. strangers.
Where he scored was on the sidelines of the summit, where utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara and the Asian Development Bank agreed to a deal in which they will refinance and retire a 660-megawatt coal-fired power plant on the north coast of Java. .
The 10-year-old station, owned by a consortium led by Marubeni Corp, is the first to be earmarked for early closure under an AfDB regional energy transition mechanism to help phase out coal, which is helping to more than half of the electricity production in Indonesia.
Indonesia will benefit from a $20 billion climate finance package pledged by the eight-nation Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) that will cut emissions, expand renewable energy and support workers most affected by climate change. the transition away from coal.
According to a JETP statement, the goal is to have renewables contribute 34% of all electricity generation by 2030 and to ensure the sector reaches net zero emissions by 2050, a decade sooner than expected by the government.
Indonesian commentators were quick to zero in on an article in which G20 countries agreed to do more to implement a 2009 deal to phase out and rationalize subsidies they said only encouraged more wasted fuel consumption.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who played a leading role in some of the side meetings at the summit, said the cost of Indonesia’s energy subsidies and offsets could top the $34 billion budgeted this year , despite a recent increase in fuel prices.