G20 can’t work with Russia at the table, says Canada

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WASHINGTON — The Group of 20 major economies cannot function effectively as long as Russia remains a member, Canada’s finance minister said Friday after a week of protests against Moscow’s war in Ukraine at meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.

The divisiveness over Russia’s presence at the meetings has been evident throughout the week, with officials from the United States, Canada, Britain and other Western nations staging walkouts three days in a row whenever Russian officials were talking.

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G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, who met in Washington on Wednesday, failed to agree on its traditional statement outlining economic policy goals, with Russia blocking strong language condemning its invasion of Ukraine.

The IMF’s Governing Board and the World Bank-IMF Development Committee have also not issued joint statements.

“The G20 cannot function effectively with Russia at the table,” Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said during a press conference with Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko in Washington.

“Russia has no place at the table of countries that have come together to maintain global economic prosperity,” Freeland said, adding that Russia had violated longstanding international rules with its invasion of southern Russia. Ukraine. “You can’t be a poacher and a game warden at the same time.”

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The tensions have called into question the effectiveness of the G20, which includes Western countries that have accused Moscow of war crimes in Ukraine, as well as China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, which do not have not joined Western-led sanctions against Russia over the conflict.

“GROUND UP” PROGRESS

Indonesia, host of the G20 this year, remains optimistic that progress can be made on a number of issues despite the tensions, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told Reuters in an interview.

“Even with an exit, we all agree” on the substance of the work that needs to be done, Indrawati said.

Indrawati said she was focusing more on the “grassroots” technical work underlying issues such as strengthening a G20 common debt framework for poor countries and creating a new debt mechanism. funding for future pandemic needs, than issuing a statement at the current stage.

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With further G20 finance meetings scheduled for July and October and a leaders’ summit in November, Indrawati said there was ample time to continue progress.

“If there is no forum at all, then the world is going to be in a much worse place”, with each country setting its policy regardless of the others.

Freeland, who is of Ukrainian descent, has made impassioned pleas on behalf of Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in late February.

On Thursday, she spoke directly to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, who virtually joined an IMF meeting, saying her attendance was “perverse and absurd” because “your war is making us poorer”, according to a source.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”. (Reporting by David Lawder and Andrea Shalal in Washington and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Paul Simao and Chris Reese)

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