G20 summit opens in Bali with a plea for unity as Ukraine war tops agenda - GulfToday

G20 summit opens in Bali with a plea for unity as Ukraine war tops agenda


Indonesia President Joko Widodo speaks during the G20 leaders summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday. Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told leaders of the world's wealthiest nations on Tuesday that now was the time to stop Russia's war in his country under a peace plan he has proposed.

He spoke by videolink to leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) nations who have gathered for a summit on the Indonesian island of Bali that is overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and worries over global inflation, food and energy security.


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Zelensky said the war should be ended "justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law".

He called for restoring "radiation safety" with regard to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, introducing price restrictions on Russian energy resources, and expanding a grain export initiative. He also called for all Ukrainian prisoners to be released.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in Kyiv. File photo

"Please choose your path for leadership — and together we will surely implement the peace formula," he said.

The summit opened earlier in the day with a plea by Indonesian President Joko Widodo for unity and concrete action to mend the global economy despite deep rifts over the war.

"We have no other option, collaboration is needed to save the world," he said. "G20 must be the catalyst for inclusive economic recovery. We should not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall into another cold war."

The G20, which includes countries ranging from Brazil to India, Saudi Arabia and Germany, accounts for more than 80% of the world's gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of its population.

Indonesia President Joko Widodo (centre) speaks during the G20 leaders summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Tuesday. AP

A positive sign on the eve of the summit was a three-hour bilateral meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in which the two leaders pledged more frequent communications despite many differences.

Monday's meeting was the first time the two had met in person since Biden became president and the talks appeared to signal an improvement in relations between the superpowers after a downward spiral in recent months.

The G20 summit is being held for the first time since Russia's February invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow has described as a "special military operation".

The war has triggered calls by some Western leaders for a boycott of the summit and for the withdrawal of Russian President Vladimir Putin's invitation.


Indonesia resisted, refusing to withdraw Putin's invitation, and also rejecting what Indonesian sources say has been pressure from G7 nations to condemn Russia at the summit this week.

Russia has said Putin was too busy to attend the summit with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov taking his place. Lavrov dismissed a news agency report on Monday that he had been taken to hospital in Bali with a heart condition and was present at the meeting.

However it was not clear if he remained in the room while Zelenskiy made his address.




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