G20 nations compromise on Ukraine war reference to reach Delhi agreement

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2L) addresses the opening session of the G20 Leaders’ Summit at the Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on September 9, 2023.

Ludovic Marin | Afp | Getty Images

NEW DELHI — The Group of 20 nations on Saturday overcame differences in references to the war in Ukraine, reaching a consensus on a joint declaration that paves the way for frameworks on debt resolution, and country-specific climate financing solutions among other issues.

In an 83-paragraph joint communique aimed at deepening the multilateral forum’s focus on the Global South, the Delhi declaration omitted words from the last year’s statement that overtly condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The wording of “most members strongly condemned the war” was among several changes. Instead, G20 member states agreed to lean on the tenets of the United Nations charter on territorial integrity and against the use of force.

“Considerable time was spent — especially in the last few days — in regard to geopolitical issues, which really centered around the war in Ukraine,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Saturday at a press conference following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initial announcement of consensus on a joint declaration.

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“Everybody helped, because everybody came together for the consensus, but the emerging markets took a particular lead on this and many of us have a strong history of working together,” Jaishankar added.

This accomplishment underscores India’s diplomatic clout at a time when global alliances are shifting. There were fears Delhi negotiators and diplomats might not be able to broker a consensus at this year’s meeting due to Russian and Chinese objections on the reference to the ongoing war.

The various leaders will still have to vote on the proposal that India has fostered, but that is seen largely as a formality at this point.

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