G-20 finance meeting expected to conclude without formal communique: Sources

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BALI (REUTERS) – A two-day meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 (G-20) major economies is expected to conclude without a formal communique, as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to divide the group, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Instead, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who is hosting this week’s meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali, is expected to issue a chair’s statement summarising the events of the meeting, the sources said.

Senior Western officials, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Friday (July 15) condemned the war and blasted Russian officials for the massive economic fallout caused by the war.

“We do not expect a communique,” one source said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, which the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”, has overshadowed recent G-20 meetings, including last week’s gathering of foreign ministers.

Ms Sri Mulyani had hoped delegates could bridge their differences over the war to jointly address rising commodity prices, an escalating food security crisis and the spillover effects on the ability of low-income countries to repay debt.

But that proved too difficult in the current climate, with Western countries enforcing strict sanctions on Russia and accusing it of war crimes in Ukraine – which Moscow denies.

Other G-20 nations, including like China, India and South Africa, have been more muted in their response.

Western sources had warned earlier in the week that it would be difficult to agree on a communique because the body works on the basis of consensus and Russia had blocked language about the cause of the economic downturn that has prompted the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to downgrade their forecasts.

“The G-20’s capacity to act and communicate is very strongly hindered by the war in Ukraine which one of the G-20 members is fully responsible for,” a French finance ministry source said.

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