G-20 ends finance talks without joint statement amid rift over Russia

Kyodo News

Posted at Jul 17 2022 08:07 AM

NUSA DUA, Indonesia - Finance chiefs from the Group of 20 major economies fell short of issuing a joint statement as they wrapped up a two-day meeting Saturday due to their rift over Russia's war in Ukraine.

Indonesia, this year's chair and host of the G-20 meetings, explained that the member economies agreed on the necessity to address urgent problems the world economy faces today, such as global food insecurity and debt conditions among low-income countries.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki told reporters after the meeting in Bali, "We achieved certain results after deepening discussions (on those issues) amid the very difficult situation and affirming what we will do from now on."

As for addressing the issue of food insecurity, the G-20 will tackle the lack of food and nutrition in close coordination with international organizations, Suzuki said, adding it also confirmed the importance of strengthening the capacity of agricultural output.

The G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors also found common ground in response to rising food and energy prices, as they will prioritize measures to support the most vulnerable people, he said.

They reaffirmed the past G-20 agreement that excess volatility in the currency market is undesirable for the economy, Suzuki said. Japan has seen the yen weaken against the U.S. dollar to levels not seen in the past 24 years, lifting import prices and negatively affecting households and businesses.

During the talks, most of which were closed to the media, the Group of Seven developed nations condemned Russia for causing rising commodity prices and food insecurity through disruptions of logistics networks and markets, according to G-20 sources.

The G-7 -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union -- has imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its aggression in Ukraine.

Russia responded that sanctions imposed by the Western countries have been negatively affecting the world economy, the sources said.

On the sidelines of the meeting, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met several finance ministers from outside of the G-7, including Australia's Jim Chalmers and Mohammed Al-Jadaan of Saudi Arabia.

They discussed cooperation in capping Russian oil prices to restrict revenue to President Vladimir Putin's military and limit the impact of the war on energy prices, the U.S. Treasury Department said.

The G-20 groups the G-7 members as well as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey.

When the G-20 finance chiefs last met in April in Washington, several delegates walked out of the room in protest when Russia spoke, and the group failed to issue a joint statement.

No one walked out of the meeting Friday when Russian officials spoke, according to Suzuki.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov joined the session virtually, and his deputy Timur Maksimov delivered a speech during the meeting.

Ukraine's Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko took part online on Friday.

==Kyodo

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