Not the joint statement but Ukraine will be EU’s priority at G-20 summit: EU official

September 06, 2023 11:14 pm | Updated September 07, 2023 06:23 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Flags of the G20 members at ‘Bharat Mandapam’ ahead of the upcoming G20 Summit, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, on September 6, 2023.

Flags of the G20 members at ‘Bharat Mandapam’ ahead of the upcoming G20 Summit, at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, on September 6, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Ukraine will be the topmost item on the agenda of the European Union at the G-20 Summit, a senior EU official said on Wednesday.

Clarifying the Western expectation about the upcoming summit that will be held here during the weekend, the official expressed confidence about forming consensus about the Global South and placed it on record that the EU “wished” to have the participation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the G-20 summit in New Delhi.

“Our first priority will be Ukraine. We wished to have participation of President Zelenskyy. But we respect the decision of the host,” said the official during a hybrid briefing for the media from across the world.

He strongly defended Ukraine’s sovereignty and called for an end to the Russian military campaign. The remark from the important functionary gave an impression of the seriousness with which the Western bloc is viewing the Ukraine conflict in the context of the G-20. “We can’t say if a joint statement will be issued (at the end of the G20 summit)...text prepared by the Indians is not sufficient for G7 and the EU,” said the EU official.

The Delhi summit is expected to witness tough bargaining over the issue which has lingered with devastating global effects since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the so-called “special military campaign” on February 24, 2022.

Last week, the Russian Ambassador in Delhi, Denis Alipov, established the Russian position regarding the prominence of Ukraine at the G-20, saying, “If there is no consensus on something then the items without consensus should be removed taking into account that political issues have never been discussed in G20.”

Mr. Alipov complained that a group of countries had hijacked the G-20 to highlight the cause of Ukraine. But the EU official on Wednesday said the G-20 was the right platform for discussing the Ukraine crisis, arguing that those who did not recognise the political nature of the G-20 were harbouring an “illusion”.

He further argued that the EU was “actively pushing” for the membership of the African Union in the G-20. The inclusion of the African Union in the G-20 has received support from several stakeholders, including, the U.S., Russia, France and India.

He further highlighted that the EU was supportive of prioritising the requirements of the Global South at the G-20 as proposed by India but said that the modalities of how that would be done remained to be fine-tuned. The official refused to comment on how effectively the Indian Presidency had navigated the issues before the G-20 while highlighting the challenges that range from Ukraine to climate finance and debt restructuring. He praised the Indonesian Presidency as “skilful”.

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