Ukraine conflict: G20 declaration calls on all states to uphold principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty

Asserting that “today’s era must not be of war”, the New Delhi Declaration of G20 countries on Saturday called on all states to uphold the principles of international law, including territorial integrity and sovereignty and pitched for initiatives for “comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine”.

“The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” said the declaration, the adoption of which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the start of the second session of the G20 Leaders’ Summit under India’s Presidency.

“Concerning the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and underscored that all states must act in a manner consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter in its entirety,” it said.

It further said, “In line with the UN Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state”.

Emphasising the importance of sustaining food and energy security, the G20 leaders called for the “cessation of military destruction or other attacks on relevant infrastructure”.

Calling on all states to uphold the principles of international law including territorial integrity and sovereignty, international humanitarian law, and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability, the document said the peaceful resolution of conflicts and efforts to address crises as well as diplomacy and dialogue are critical.

“We will unite in our endeavour to address the adverse impact of the war on the global economy and welcome all relevant and constructive initiatives that support a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine that will uphold all the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter for the promotion of peaceful, friendly, and good neighbourly relations among nations in the spirit of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future,” it added.

Replying to questions at a press conference on how difficult it was to arrive at a consensus on the Ukraine issue, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “This is a declaration of 83 paras, there are a lot of subjects covered, but obviously because of the ongoing conflict and the different views on it, considerable time was spent in the last few days with regard to geopolitical issues which were mostly centred around the war in Ukraine”.

Asked which countries helped forge consensus on the Ukraine conflict, he said, “Actually… Everybody helped. Everybody came together to forge a consensus, but emerging markets took a particular lead on this and many of us have a strong history of working together. Bear in mind that actually, you have four developing countries in succession for the G20 presidency…Indonesia, us, Brazil and South Africa.”

“I would say, rather than who helped, the common landing point was fashioned out,” he added.

On having different viewpoints, Jaishankar said, “It is a very polarising issue and there is a spectrum of views, we are being transparent…In all fairness, it was only right to record what was the reality in the meeting rooms and that is the sense that is sought to be captured.” On the change in language in the New Delhi Declaration of the Ukraine conflict from the Bali document, Jaishankar said, “Regarding the change in language on the Russia-Ukraine conflict from the Bali Declaration – Bali was Bali, New Delhi is Delhi. Many things have happened since the Bali Declaration.”

“One should not have a theological view of this. The New Delhi Declaration responds to the situation as it stands today. The New Delhi Declaration responds to the concerns of today just like the Bali Declaration responded to the concerns of that time,” he added.

The G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration said, “We reiterated our national positions as expressed in other fora, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, which, in Resolution No. ES-11/1 dated 2 March 2022, as adopted by majority vote (141 votes for, 5 against, 35 abstentions, 12 absent) deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine.”

It also said, “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine..”

Describing the negotiations on the wordings of the Ukraine conflict as “tough and ruthless”, India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said it went on for days and the issue was clinched because of the leadership of the Prime Minister.

“We had to say, the leader wants it and this has to be delivered,” he added.

The 37-page long declaration reaffirmed that the G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation, and while it recognises that the bloc is not the platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues, the G20 leaders acknowledged that these issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.

“We highlighted the human suffering and negative added impacts of the war in Ukraine with regard to global food and energy security, supply chains, macro-financial stability, inflation and growth, which has complicated the policy environment for countries, especially developing and least developed countries which are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic disruption which has derailed progress towards the SDGs.”

“There were different views and assessments of the situation,” it noted.

The declaration further said, “We appreciate the efforts of Turkiye and UN-brokered Istanbul Agreements consisting of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the United Nations on Promoting Russian Food Products and Fertilizers to the World Markets and the Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian Ports (Black Sea Initiative).”

It called for their full, timely and effective implementation to ensure the immediate and unimpeded deliveries of grain, foodstuffs, and fertilizers/inputs from the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

“This is necessary to meet the demand in developing and least developed countries, particularly those in Africa,” it added. On the black sea initiative, Jaishanker said many discussions are going on.

“It’s natural there would be discussions going forward. When the green corridor was created at Bali, we also contributed in our own way, at that time between Turkiye and Russia,” he added.

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