G20 Finance Leaders Meet in Bali Under Cloud of Ukraine War


By Fransiska Nangoy and Stefanno Sulaiman

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – G20 finance leaders meet on Friday on the resort island of Bali, as host Indonesia tries to find common ground in a group frayed by the Ukraine war amid rising economic pressures from soaring inflation.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”, has overshadowed previous meetings by the Group of 20 major economies, including last week’s gathering of foreign ministers.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo told World Bank representatives in a meeting in Jakarta that he hopes G20 members “could put out a communique” after concluding their gathering on Saturday, according to his planning minister.

G20 members include Western countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia and accuse it of war crimes in Ukraine – which it denies – as well as nations like China, India and South Africa, which have been more muted in their responses.

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German and French officials have expressed scepticism that common ground can be reached due to the tensions over Ukraine.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said the war was causing a negative spillover globally and Russian officials had no place at the G20 meeting.

Yellen dodged a question about whether she would walk out when Russian officials spoke, however, but said she would condemn Russia’s invasion “in the strongest possible terms”.

Ukraine’s finance minister is expected to speak at one of the sessions virtually, Indonesia said. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov will address the meeting virtually, with his deputy travelling to Bali.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov walked out of one session of a meeting with his counterparts in Bali last week, following what he called “frenzied criticism” of his country at a forum he said should have focused on global economic problems.

That meeting ended without a communique nor any announcements of agreements.

Indonesia has said it wants the meeting to come up with actions to tackle a looming food crisis that would hit poor countries the most.

Yellen said one of her key objectives was to push G20 creditors, including China, to finalise debt relief for countries in debt distress.

(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy and Stefanno Sulaiman in Nusa Dua; Additional reporting by Gayatri Suroyo in Jakarta; Editing by Martin Petty)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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