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G20 meeting in India fails to reach consensus as members divided over Ukraine

Workers install a hoarding board near the venue of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, in Gujarat, India, on July 13. (Photo by Reuters)

Finance ministers of the Group of Twenty (G20) have failed to issue a joint statement after a two-day meeting due to disagreement among members over Russia's war in Ukraine.   

At the end of the third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting held in the western Indian city of Gandhingar, finance ministers and central bank governors on Tuesday issued a chair summary at the end of the event rather than a joint statement due to differences between major powers over the war in Ukraine.

As Western countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, strongly pushed for a fierce condemnation of Russia's ongoing military operation in Ukraine, Russia and China opposed any such move, with Beijing stressing that the meeting was not the right place to discuss such geopolitical issues.

Moreover, regarding the Ukrainian grain shipment deal, which expired on Monday, there was no consensus. A number of G20 member states condemned Russia for not extending the unprecedented wartime agreement, whose termination will prevent hunger-stricken parts of the world from receiving the vital crop.

India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, whose country took over the presidency of G20 last December, said the reason behind the failure to agree on the grain deal was that members could not reach "a common language" on the war in Ukraine. 

"Several members condemned it saying that shouldn't have happened... passing through the Black Sea shouldn't have been stopped or suspended," she told reporters at the end of the meeting on Tuesday.

The agreement last came up for extension on May 18 and Russia agreed at that point to extend it for 60 more days.

The deal came with a separate agreement to facilitate shipments of Russian food and fertilizer. Moscow says no facilitation under that agreement has yet taken place. The Kremlin had initially threatened to abandon the deal if its concerns were not addressed. 

Russia terminated the deal hours after a blast knocked out its bridge to Crimea, blaming Ukrainian sea drones for the crippling attack. Moscow, however, stressed that there was no link between the attack and its decision to suspend the grain deal, reiterating that the deal was suspended since Russia's demands were not met.

The gathering in the western state of Gujarat was the G20's third finance track meeting under the presidency of India, which has so far adopted a largely neutral stance toward the war in Ukraine.

Although New Delhi is on the one hand urging a diplomatic solution to the current war, on the other hand is increasing purchases of discounted oil from Russia.

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