"Differences Which We Couldn't Reconcile": No G20 Joint Statement In Delhi

"There were issues and very frankly they were concerned with the Ukraine conflict. There were divergences," Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on why there will be no G20 joint statement

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar takes questions from reporters at the G20 meet

New Delhi:

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar today said there were "divergences" in the meetings of the G20 and member countries could not reconcile positions on the Ukraine war, after Foreign Ministers held discussions at the start of a two-day event in Delhi under India's presidency of the grouping.

"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," Mr Jaishankar said, explaining why there was an outcome document instead of a joint statement.

Sources say both Russia and China raised objections to the wording on the Ukraine war, thwarting a joint statement for the second time. 

Last week, a meeting of G20 Finance Ministers in Bengaluru failed to agree on a common statement after Russia and China similarly sought to water down language on the Ukraine war. A "Chair's Summary" was published at the end of the discussions.

The Foreign Minister stressed that there was agreement on "the bulk of issues" involving the concerns of the global south.

"There were a large number of issues on which there was agreement, like strengthening multilateralism, promoting food and energy security, climate change, gender issues, counter terror...On the bulk of issues which concern the global south, there was a considerable meeting of minds that has been captured by outcome document," he said.

"If we had a perfect meeting of minds on all issues, it would have been a collective statement. In terms of the outcome document you will see that there was almost 90 per cent agreement. Just, on two paras we were not able to get everybody on the same page - or para," Mr Jaishankar told the media.

The inability to converge on a joint statement contrasts sharply with the consensus reached by leaders in Bali in November. The G20 leaders' statement had said then that "most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine" and noted "other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions".

India has declined to blame Russia for the war, seeking a diplomatic solution while sharply boosting its purchases of Russian oil. To avoid its year as chair of the G20 becoming dominated by the Ukraine war, India has called for a focus on food, energy and fertilizer security - subjects that impact fewer wealthy nations.