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G20 host calls for end to Ukraine conflict ‘sooner rather than later’

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Kao Kim Hourn, Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister, and Indonesia Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi. SUPPLIED

G20 host calls for end to Ukraine conflict ‘sooner rather than later’

The top Indonesian diplomat on July 8 called on the Group of 20 (G20) leaders to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict “sooner rather than later”, stressing that developing and low-income countries are bearing the brunt of the escalating crisis.

The turmoil in Ukraine piles pressure on a world that is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, and its ripple effects are being felt globally in food and energy systems as well as the fiscal space, Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi said.

She made the remarks at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting hosted by Indonesia from July 7-8 in Bali – and attended in-person by Kao Kim Hourn, Cambodia’s Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister – to explore ways to move forward on important issues that affect the entire world.

In the opening remarks on July 8, Retno said that, “as always, developing and low-income countries are impacted the most. Global growth is projected to slow down to 2.9 per cent in 2022, while inflation may reach up to 8.7 per cent for developing countries.

“It is our responsibility to end the war sooner rather than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not at the battlefield,” she added.

Her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov attended the meeting in-person, while Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the event virtually.

The meeting focused on strengthening multilateralism and on how the G20 can ensure that the principle delivers tangible results, in view of the current global challenges. It also addressed the ongoing food, energy and security crises and approaches the intergovernmental forum could take to help resolve them.

“Can we solve these global problems by our own? The answer is: ‘No.’ Global challenges require global solutions. But honestly, we cannot deny that it has become more difficult for the world to sit together,” Retno pointed out.

"The current situation of the world has made people lose faith in multilateralism and its capacity to respond effectively to global challenges.

"Multilateralism is not perfect, but can we imagine if we [had] to live without multilateralism? I am sure the situation [would] be even worse.

“Multilateralism is the only mechanism [whereby] all countries, regardless of their size and wealth, stand on equal footing and are treated equally. The voices of all countries – big and small, North and South, developed and developing – must be heard,” she said.

She urged the G20 leaders to build strategic trust and mutual respect, and uphold all of the foundations and principles laid out since 1945 when the UN was founded, saying: “Multilateralism can only deliver if there is trust among us.”

Paraphrasing Article 1 of the UN Charter, Retno said that member states must “maintain international peace and security in conformity with the principles of justice and international laws”, “develop friendly relations among nations” and “achieve international cooperation in solving international problems”.

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