The G-20 summit in Bali has barely started when optimism is spreading. Even before the heads of state and government of the 20 most powerful industrialized and emerging countries met for their first working session on the Indonesian holiday island on Tuesday morning, a remarkable agreement was announced. The chief negotiators, known as the Sherpas, have agreed to a summit declaration with surprisingly clear criticism of the Russian war of aggression against the Ukraine agreed. “Most members have strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating the existing vulnerability of the global economy,” says the draft, which the Süddeutsche Zeitung present. This hampers growth, increases inflation, disrupts supply chains, increases energy and food insecurity, and exacerbates risks to financial stability. Russia seems to have given up its resistance to a summit declaration with such clear criticism – apparently because it no longer found support from traditional allies such as China.
Failure had previously been feared
Despite the agreed confidentiality, EU Council President Charles Michel confirmed the agreement in the morning. If it persists, the summit would take a completely different course than expected. It was feared that the summit would fail because of irreconcilable differences of opinion about the Russian war of aggression between the western democracies and many other G-20 members, above all China. The draft states that the states have reaffirmed their “national positions”. The condemnation of the Russian attack on Ukraine by the United Nations General Assembly with 141 votes in favour, five against and 35 abstentions is expressly mentioned. Although the G20 is not a forum that can resolve security issues, it is recognized that “security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.”
Strong words from the host
The summit host, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, also made an unexpectedly clear statement at the start. “We all have a responsibility. Not only for our people, but also for the people of the world. Acting responsibly means respecting international law and the principles of the UN Charter,” he appealed to the summit participants. Acting responsibly also means “that we have to end the war,” emphasized Widodo. “If the war doesn’t end, it will be difficult for the world to move forward,” he warned. And he warned: “We must not split the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall back into a new cold war.”
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced “very serious talks” after his arrival in Bali. “It must be clear that it is unacceptable for a country to attack its neighbors. That’s why I think it’s very important that we always make it clear that the United Nations has condemned Russian aggression,” said Scholz. For him it is also “very, very important that it is made clear that the use of nuclear weapons is out of the question”. This is also reflected in the summit draft. “Threats with nuclear weapons are inadmissible,” it says there.