G20 finance meetings in Bali overshadowed by war in Ukraine

BANGKOK (AP) – Financial leaders from the Group of 20 richest and largest economies agreed in meetings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali this week on the need to jointly tackle global ills such as inflation and food crises, but failed to bridge differences over the war in Ukraine.

As host of the G-20 this year, Indonesia sought to bridge divisions among G-20 members over invading Russia, but enmity over the conflict was evident even then. that finance ministers and central bankers agreed on other global challenges that have been made worse by the war.

All those involved agreed that the meeting took place “in a very difficult and difficult situation due to geopolitical tensions”, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Saturday.

She said delegates had “expressed their sympathy that Indonesia has to deal with this situation”.

Indrawati and Indonesian central bank governor Perry Warjiyo said Indonesia would later issue a statement from the G-20 chair that would include two paragraphs outlining areas on which participants failed to agree.

There were still issues that couldn’t be reconciled, “because they want to express their war-related views,” Indrawati said. In the statement “related to the war, there are still views that are different within the G-20”, said.

Indrawati outlined a series of areas on which members agreed, including the need to improve food security, support the creation of a funding mechanism for pandemic preparedness, prevention and responses , to work towards a global tax agreement and to facilitate the financing of transitions to cleaner energy to address climate change.

“Progress is greater than expected,” Warjiyo said.

As inflation hits four-decade highs – US consumer prices rose 9.1% in June – Warjiyo said participants were “strongly committed to achieving price stability”.

“There is a commitment within the G-20 to well-calibrated macroeconomic policy to tackle inflation and slowing growth,” he said.

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

During talks that began on Friday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen condemned Moscow for “the innocent lives lost and the human and economic toll that war is taking around the world”.

“Russia alone is responsible for the negative fallout on the global economy, especially the rise in commodity prices,” she said.

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland compared the presence of Russian officials at the meetings to the presence of “an arsonist joining the fire department”. The war is being fought by economic technocrats, as well as generals, she said in a Twitter post.

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

Indrawati said the closed-door G-20 talks did not include discussion of proposals to cap Russian oil prices – one of Yellen’s main goals as the United States and its allies seek to limit Moscow’s ability to finance its war.

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

The Bali talks saw more progress than a previous G-20 finance meeting in Washington in April, when officials from the United States, Britain, France, Canada and Ukraine withdrew to protest against the presence of Russian envoys. This meeting also ended without issuing a joint statement.

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

“The world needs more and more collaboration. whatever the country…they cannot solve this problem alone. food security, energy, climate change, pandemic… everything is interconnected,” Indrawati said.

“We all agreed that we should continue the spirit of collaboration and multilateralism,” she said.

The meetings also addressed the problem of growing debts in countries like Zambia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

While the G-20 is “not a creditors’ forum, it is recognized that there is growing debt,” Indrawati said.

The talks focused on a framework for creditor and debtor countries to find solutions to help countries in need.

“When a country has unsustainable debt, it needs to communicate with its creditors,” she said. “This mechanism needs to be more predictable. This is what we discussed in the G-20.”