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G20 finance chiefs differ on debt, Russia-Ukraine war

Finance leaders of the world’s biggest economies were entangled in differences on Saturday over the war in Ukraine and on resolving the debt burden of distressed developing nations, participants said.

The meeting of finance ministers and central bank chiefs of the Group of 20 (G20), hosted by India, was likely to end later in the day without a joint communique because there was no consensus on how to describe the conflict in Ukraine, delegates said.

The United States and its allies in the Group of Seven (G7) industrial powers have been adamant in demanding the communique squarely condemn Russia for the invasion of its neighbour, which has been opposed by the Russian and Chinese delegations, they said.

“I think there has to be a statement in the communique condemning Russia’s war,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Reuters on the sidelines of the meeting. “It’s something that I think is absolutely necessary.

“And I think the G7 is certainly united on that, so it’s something that I would expect and I think is necessary and appropriate,” she said in an interview.

Russia, a member of the G20 but not the G7, refers to its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”, and avoids calling it an invasion or war.

India is pressing the meeting to avoid using the word “war” in any communique, G20 officials have told Reuters. India, which holds the this year’s G20 presidency, has kept a largely neutral stance on the war, declining to blame Russia for the invasion, seeking a diplomatic solution and sharply boosting its purchases of Russian oil.

India and China were among the nations that abstained on Thursday when U.N. voted overwhelmingly to demand Moscow withdraw its troops from Ukraine and stop fighting.

Besides the G7 nations, the G20 bloc also includes such countries as Australia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

A senior G20 source said negotiations over the communique were difficult, with Russia and China blocking proposals by Western countries.

The source and several other officials said barring a last-minute surprise, a consensus on the communique was unlikely and that the meeting was likely to end with a statement by the host summarising the discussions.


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