Yellen says it is “absolutely necessary” for the G20 to condemn the war in Ukraine

BENGALURU (Reuters) – US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Reuters that a strong statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine was “absolutely necessary” for a communiqué from the meeting of G20 finance leaders in India which closed on Saturday.

Yellen said in an interview that leaving out a war condemnation from the communiqué would be a step backwards from a statement made by G20 leaders last November on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Asked if there would be no communiqué from G20 finance ministers and central bank governors without such a statement, Yellen said negotiations are continuing.

The meeting on the outskirts of Indian tech hub Bengaluru was set to end late on Saturday.

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“I think there should be a statement in the communiqué condemning Russia’s war. We’ve had it in the past, in Bali and it’s something I think is absolutely necessary,” Yellen said.

“And I think the G7 is definitely in agreement on that, so it’s something that I would expect and that I think is necessary and appropriate.”

Yellen’s comments, however, came as hopes that the group could make a joint statement in the final hours were fading.

G20 president India is urging the meeting not to use the word “war” in any communiqué, G20 officials have told Reuters. India, which holds the current G20 presidency, has maintained a largely neutral stance on the war, not blaming Russia for the invasion, seeking a diplomatic solution and greatly increasing its purchases of Russian oil.

In Bali, G20 leaders issued a statement saying, “Most members have strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” indicating that Russia, a member of the G20, had opposed the wording.

The Bali statement added: “There were different views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”

(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Mark Potter and William Mallard)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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