A joint statement could not be issued at the end of the meeting of G20 foreign ministers at New Delhi due to “divergences” on the issue of the war in Ukraine, said external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday (March 2).
Jaishankar told the media that “there were issues and very frankly they were concerned with the Ukraine conflict. There were divergences. There were differences, which we could not be reconciled”.
“There was a considerable meeting of minds. If we had a perfect meeting of minds, we could have had a collective statement, but divergences on Ukraine did come in the way of that,” he admitted. But despite the differences on Ukraine, the foreign ministers were able to reach consensus on other issues, he added.
Also read: India tries to calm tensions as Ukraine splits G20
At a press conference on G20 outcomes, Jaishankar said that the G20 arrived at a consensus on many important issues, and these have been adopted as a Chair’s Summary and Outcome document. A chair’s summary simply sums up the talks and notes the disagreements raised by some countries.
On the topic of not issuing a joint communique, Jaishankar further elaborated that members agreed on most issues involving the concerns of less-developed nations. They agreed on strengthening multilateralism, promoting food and energy security, climate change, global health, gender issues and counterterrorism, he said.
There was a considerable meeting of minds on the bulk of issues which concern the global south, and that has been captured in the outcome document, India’s foreign minister told the media.
Also read: Meet within meet: Quad nations plan talks after G20 foreign ministers event
There was almost 90 per cent agreement in the outcome document, he said, adding that just on two paras they were not able to get everybody on the same page – or para. G20 countries condemned terrorism in all its forms, they discussed counter narcotics for first time too, he pointed out. And, India emphasised that the costs of fuel, food, fertilizer are make or break issues for Global South, and are very damaging.
India, as the host had appealed to all members of the fractured Group of 20 to reach consensus on issues of concerns facing poorer countries, even if the broader East-West split over Ukraine remained unresolved. While others, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, chose to highlight their roles in addressing world crises. And, the divide was palpable.
Jaishankar said that they this was the largest gathering of G20 foreign ministers hosted by G20 presidency. “Multilateralism is in crisis today in terms of preventing future wars and terrorism,” said Jaishankar.
At the press conference, Jaishankar was asked about his meeting with China’s foreign minister Qin Gang. He replied that he spoke with Gang for 45 minutes during which the focus of the conversation was mainly on the boundary issue.