G20 meets amid Ukraine war and tensions between US and Saudi Arabia

G20 meets amid Ukraine war and tensions between US and Saudi Arabia


The G20 held talks in Washington on Thursday, but Russia’s presence at the club made consensus unlikely despite the multiple crises the world is facing.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 major economies are gathered in the US capital during annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank, which have focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine, rising inflation and a climate crisis.

However, the G20 is unlikely to agree on many issues as the group now faces tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States over OPEC+ oil production cuts, which Washington fears will fuel inflation further.

Despite the divisions, Western officials said the G20 remains a useful forum.

“Even if there are different opinions – even those that you don’t share, some even that you don’t understand – it’s a good forum for discussions,” said Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner.

“It’s better to have a forum to speak than none at all,” he told reporters.

However, the G20 is expected to conclude its meeting without a joint communiqué, as at its previous meetings under Indonesia’s presidency this year. A press conference is scheduled for later Thursday.

“We could make a communiqué that doesn’t mention the war in Ukraine, but we don’t want a communiqué that sweeps things under the rug,” a source close to the discussions told AFP.

– Saudi-US spit –

While Western nations have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia, other countries have maintained economic ties with Moscow, with India and China stepping up their purchases of Russian oil.

The group of prosperous seven democracies is now trying to cap the price of Russian crude oil exports, a move aimed at depriving the country of a key source of funding for its war effort.

The G7 – which includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – said on Wednesday it had made “significant progress” on key parts of its proposal, noting it was adding Australia to its coalition have.

Obtaining broad global agreement for a price cap is a key challenge for the proposal.

The Saudi Arabian-led OPEC group of oil exporters has angered the United States by agreeing with Russia and other allies on drastic production cuts that could push energy prices even higher.

Washington has accused OPEC+ of aligning itself with Moscow, and on Wednesday President Joe Biden threatened “consequences” for Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry denied that the decision was “politically motivated against the United States” and expressed its “total disapproval of these non-factual statements.”

But US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby replied that Ryiadh knew the cut would “increase Russian revenues and weaken the effectiveness of sanctions.” This is the wrong direction.”

The source close to the G20 talks said Western nations said at the meeting that they were “disappointed” and that it went against Saudi interests “because the risk to them is that they cause a recession”.

“It’s hard to understand,” the source said.

– ‘We are cooked’ –

The G20 also discussed the state of the global economy and debt at a dinner on Wednesday. On Thursday, they discussed the financial sector, cryptocurrency regulation, a global minimum tax for companies and how to deliver on climate finance pledges, the source said.

Tensions within the G20 come as leaders are due to meet next month at a summit in Bali, Indonesia, where Biden will share the same venue as Russian President Vladimir Putin and another rival, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, could share.

The lack of consensus within the group also comes ahead of the COP27 UN climate summit in Egypt in November.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday that the world needs to invest up to $6 trillion a year if it is to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“If we don’t change our trajectory this decade, we’re cooked. If we don’t want to be cooked, we should accelerate,” Georgieva said in talks on climate change on Wednesday.

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