India says G20 leaders’ draft declaration ‘almost ready’

New Delhi, Sep 8 (EFE).- India, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20 major economies, announced on Friday that the draft declaration for the weekend summit is “almost ready.”

The announcement has partly alleviated concerns that the G20 summit, beginning on Saturday in New Delhi, might conclude without a joint declaration, which would be unprecedented.

The document will be forwarded to global leaders for their approval at the mega event that begins on Saturday in New Delhi.

“New Delhi leaders’ declaration is almost ready, I would not like to dwell on it,” India’s G20 summit negotiator Amitabh Kant told reporters.

“This declaration will be recommended to the leaders and the leaders will then accept it, and only after that we’ll be able to talk about the actual achievements of the declaration,” he said.

Kant, India’s sherpa and country representative for the G20 summit, emphasized that the draft of the Leaders’ Declaration reflects the needs of the so-called global South and developing countries.

India has tried to project itself as the leader of the global south, stressing that the interests and problems of developing countries should not been overlooked.

“No document in the world would have such a strong voice for the Global South and the developing countries,” Kant said.

G20 leaders have begun arriving in the Indian capital and will convene on Saturday to discuss the key points of the declaration in order to reach a consensus.

The forum of the world’s 20 wealthiest nations has been unable to produce a joint statement at the conclusion of every ministerial meeting in the past one year of Indian presidency, primarily due to China and Russia’s refusal to condemn the war in Ukraine.

If the New Delhi summit ends without a joint statement, it would mark the first instance in G20 history, raising questions about the group’s geopolitical relevance.

The most contentious issue in reaching a consensus revolves around the Ukraine war, given the deepening differences between the West and the China-Russia stance.

The West is urging G20 nations to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in contrast to Moscow and Beijing’s viewpoints.

Kant said that since the G20 “is an economic forum,” the summit discussions would focus on the economic impact of the Ukraine conflict, similar to last year’s Bali meeting in Indonesia.

Negotiations were similarly complicated during the Bali summit.

However, an agreement was reached at the last moment to issue a “leaders’ declaration” that reflected the perspectives of the majority of G20 countries, including mention of the war in Ukraine.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy,” the Bali declaration said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, have opted to skip the India meeting. Instead, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang will represent their nations.

Another central point of the summit is expected to be the potential inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the group, a position that India has supported since assuming the rotating presidency.

Kant said India had written to all the leaders about the African Union and the response was “very positive.” EFE

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