Washington [US], February 28: The US on Monday (local time) criticized Russia and China for not offering “firm condemnation” of the Ukraine conflict at the G20 ministerial meeting of Finance Ministers.
At a US Department of State press briefing, spokesperson Ned Price said, “When it comes to the Peoples’ Republic China (PRC), that’s a question for the PRC – a country that purports to believe in the principle of sovereignty, that purports to believe in the principle of territorial integrity and independence. Why it is not living up to those principles in this context, that’s a question only the PRC can answer.”
Price was answering questions on the G20 ministerial meeting of Finance Ministers in India that ended without a consensus on the war in Ukraine.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of where we are. But to your question, what I saw from the foreign – from the finance ministers meeting over the weekend was a G20 that was on the same page, with two notable exceptions: only with the exception of Russia and the PRC. Other countries, as you can see from the statement that emanated from the finance ministers meeting, roundly condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. It was only Russia and China that equivocated or that were not in a position to offer that firm condemnation,” said Price.
Speaking on Russia, he said that it is no surprise that they are not prepared to condemn their own government’s actions in Ukraine.
He also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “this is not an era of war” statement.
“You’ve heard very firmly from Prime Minister Modi the belief on the part of the Indian Government that this is not an era of war. There are countries around the world, notably Russia, that are challenging the rules-based order, the principles of the UN Charter, the principles of international law, the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We’ll continue to discuss these issues with our Indian partners. I have no doubt that they’ll be on the agenda for and around the G20,” said the spokesperson.
Speaking about bilateral talks with India and whether China will feature in them, he said, “We share a number of important interests, a number of important values with our Indian partners, but principally we share a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. There are countries in the region, namely the PRC, that have posed a consistent and in some ways even a systemic challenge to the vision that we share with India of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Without going into specifics, those issues will certainly be on the agenda at the G20 but also in the bilateral context.”
The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) is scheduled in physical format from March 1-2, 2023 in New Delhi under India’s presidency.
PM Modi is expected to address the foreign ministers of the member countries of G20 and he will talk about India’s growing influence globally.
The March 1-2 meeting of the G20 foreign ministers will be held days after a meeting of finance chiefs of the bloc in Bengaluru, where they wrangled over condemning Russia for the war, failed to reach a consensus on a joint statement and settled instead for a summary document.
The event will be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. In all, representatives of 40 countries, including non-G20 members invited by India, and multilateral organisations will attend.