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G20 finance meetings in Bali overshadowed by war in Ukraine

BANGKOK (AP) – Financial leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) richest and biggest economies agreed at meetings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali this week on the need to jointly tackle global ills such as inflation and food crises, but failed to bridge differences over the war in Ukraine.

As G20 host this year, Indonesia has sought to bridge divisions between G20 members over Russia’s invasion, but enmity over the conflict was evident even as the finance ministers and central bank chiefs concurred on other global challenges that have been worsened by the war.

All involved agreed the meeting took place “under a very challenging and difficult situation because of the geopolitical tensions”, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Saturday. She said delegates had “expressed sympathy that Indonesia has to manage this situation”.

Indrawati and Indonesian central bank Governor Perry Warjiyo said Indonesia would later release a G20 chair’s statement that would include two paragraphs describing areas where the participants failed to agree.

There were still issues that could not be reconciled, “because they want to express their views related to the war”, Indrawati said. In the statement “related to the war there are still views that are different within the G20”, she said.

Indrawati outlined a range of areas where the members did agree, including the need to improve food security, to support the creation of a funding mechanism for pandemic preparedness, prevention and responses, on working toward a global tax agreement and on facilitating financing of transitions toward cleaner energy to cope with climate change.

“The progress is more than expected,” Warjiyo said.

With inflation running at four-decade highs – United States (US)consumer prices were up 9.1 per cent in June – Warjiyo said participants were “strongly committed to achieving price stability”.

Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati (R) speaks during a press conference at the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on July 16. PHOTO: AFP