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G20: Germany regrets China blocking Russia condemnation

February 25, 2023

The finance chiefs of the world's largest economies wrapped their convention in India without consensus on condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Germany's finance minister found it "regrettable."

PK Lindner Nagel G20
Image: picture alliance / photothek

Germany has criticized China's blocking of a communique drafted during the Group of 20 meeting which condemned Russia's war on Ukraine.

Saturday's condemnation was signed off by all members of the group, barring China and Russia itself.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner told reporters on Saturday that the outcome was "regrettable."

However, he added: "For me, it was more important that all the others adhered to a clear position of international law, multilateralism, and the end of the war," Reuters quoted Lindner as saying.

A chair's summary issued at the end of the meeting said there was no agreement on the wording of the war in Ukraine. The document simply summed up the two days of talks, without any resolutions due to the divisions.

Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and head of delegates attend the G20 meeting on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India, February 24, 2023.
The talks were held in the city of Bengaluru, india's technological hub, over two daysImage: India's Press Information Bureau/via REUTERS

The talks started in the Indian city of Bengaluru, the center of the country's high-tech industry, on Friday, which marked the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A major G20 summit held in Bali last November saw leaders of the member countries strongly condemn the war.

What was in the contested communique?

India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that the communique contained two contested paragraphs from the Bali declaration. Though they had been approved in November, both Russia and China said they had agreed under the then prevailing circumstances.

Sitharaman did not give more details about the reasons for the duo's rejection. 

The clause that was rejected read: "It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability... The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today's era must not be of war."

Russia's recent nuclear threats

Russia has been hinting recently it might resort to its nuclear arsenal, as the war with Ukraine drags on.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed on Thursday to develop Moscow's nuclear forces further. 

Putin's remarks were issued two days after he announced that Russia would suspend its participation in a key nuclear disarmament treaty. He said Russia must stand ready to resume nuclear weapons tests if Washington does so.

US President Joe Biden called the move a "big mistake," and Ukrainian officials decried Russia's "nuclear terrorism."

rmt/rc (AP, Reuters)

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