Finance 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.
Hosting the G-20 this year, Indonesia has tried to bridge divisions among G-20 members over Russia’s invasion, but enmity over the conflict was evident even as finance ministers and central bank chiefs they agreed on other global challenges that have been aggravated by war.
All involved agreed that the meeting took place “in a very challenging and difficult situation due to geopolitical tensions,” Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Saturday.
She said delegates had “expressed sympathy that Indonesia has to handle this situation.”
Indrawati and Indonesian central bank governor Perry Warjiyo said Indonesia would later release a statement from the G20 president that would include two paragraphs outlining areas where participants could not agree.
There were still issues that could not be reconciled, “because they want to express their views related to the war,” Indrawati said. In the statement “related to the war, there are still views that are different within the G-20,” she said. she said she.
Indrawati outlined a variety of areas that members agreed on, including the need to improve food security, support the creation of a financing mechanism for pandemic preparedness, prevention and response, work towards a global tax agreement and facilitate financing. transitions to cleaner energy to deal with climate change.
“The progress is more than expected,” said Warjiyo.
With inflation at a four-decade high (US consumer prices up 9.1% in June), Warjiyo said participants were “firmly committed to achieving price stability.”
“There is a commitment among the G-20 to macroeconomic policy that is well calibrated to address inflation and slowing growth,” he said.
The meetings in Bali follow a meeting of G20 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 “innocent lives lost and the continuing human and economic toll the war is causing around the world.”
“Russia is solely responsible for the negative effects on the world economy, in particular the increase in the prices of raw materials,” he said.
Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland likened the attendance of Russian officials at the meetings to “an arsonist who joins the firefightersThe war is being waged by economic technocrats as well as generals, he said in a post on Twitter.
Russian officials reportedly blamed Western sanctions over the war for worsening inflation and food crises.
Indrawati said the closed-door G-20 talks did not include discussion of proposals for a cap on the price of Russian oil, one of Yellen’s key goals as the United States and its allies seek to curb Moscow’s ability to finance its war.
Such discussions would have occurred on the sidelines of the meeting, he said.
The Bali talks saw more progress than a previous G20 finance meeting in Washington in April, when officials from the US, Britain, France, Canada and Ukraine came out to protest the attendance of Russian envoys. That meeting also ended without the release of a joint statement.
Caught in the middle as host, Indonesia has urged officials on all sides to overcome mistrust for the sake of a planet facing multiple challenges.
“The world needs more and more collaboration. it doesn’t matter in which country… they can’t solve this problem alone. food security, energy, climate change, pandemic… everything is interconnected,” said Indrawati.
“We all agreed that we need to continue the spirit of collaboration and multilateralism,” he said.
The meetings also addressed the problem of mounting debts in countries such as Zambia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
While the G-20 “is not a creditor forum, it is recognized that there is growing debt,” Indrawati said.
The talks focused on a framework that allows creditor and debtor nations to find solutions to help countries in need.
“When a country has a debt that is unsustainable, it has to communicate with its creditors,” he said. “This mechanism needs to be more predictable. That is what we have been discussing within the G-20”.
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