World leaders will state that today’s era “must not be of war” at the G20 summit in Bali, according to a draft communiqué agreed by diplomats that also condemned threats of nuclear weapons use.
The draft statement, seen by the Financial Times and confirmed by two delegations, said: “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy.” The draft comes after days of negotiations between officials from western countries and Russia and China.
The language regarding the war and Moscow’s repeated use of nuclear rhetoric is stronger than western officials forecast, and underscores rising anxiety in non-western states about Vladimir Putin’s invasion and its widespread effects.
“The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war,” the draft statement said.
The communiqué was agreed by country delegates on Monday night but must still be signed off by G20 leaders at a two-day summit that began on Tuesday morning.
Officials had earlier warned that Russia’s objection to condemnation of the war and China’s support for Moscow could mean the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, risked being the first to fail to agree on a joint statement, as western leaders sought to rally support for Kyiv and condemnation of Moscow.
The G20 “will make clear that Russia’s war is wreaking havoc for people everywhere”, a senior US official said, adding that there was a growing trend of “countries from different parts of the world, large and small, and lower and middle income” speaking out against the conflict.
The Indian delegation played a big role in achieving consensus among member states over the wording criticising the Russian invasion, according to two officials with knowledge of the negotiations. The language of the draft statement echoed Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s words to Putin in September by saying “now is not the time for war”.
An Indonesian official said discussions on the draft statement were “still dynamic” and might change.
In a special video address to leaders on Tuesday morning in a session dedicated to the war and its impact on global food and energy markets, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, pointedly addressed “leaders of the G19” in a snub to Russia and reiterated demands for Moscow to withdraw its troops from his country.
“I want this aggressive Russian war to end justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law,” he said. Zelenskyy added that Ukraine should not be offered peace deals that would compromise its “conscience, sovereignty, territory and independence”.
“If Russia opposes our peace formula, you will see that it only wants war,” he added.
The draft communiqué stated that the war in Ukraine was “constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks”.
It added: “There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.” Moscow has blamed western sanctions against it for pushing up global food and energy prices.
In his opening address to the summit, host Joko Widodo, the Indonesian president, warned fellow leaders: “If the war does not end, it will be difficult for us to take responsibility for the future.”
“We must not divide the world,” Widodo added. “We should not allow the world to fall into another cold war.”
Tuesday afternoon’s debate among G20 leaders will focus on global health, followed by a formal evening reception.
Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, has faced immense international criticism for his refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine or use his deep personal relationship with Putin to convince the Russian leader to reverse course.
Xi, who met his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, reiterated China’s calls for peace talks and a ceasefire in Ukraine.
The Chinese leader also urged France to respect China’s “core interests”, a reference to rising international concern about Beijing’s claims to Taiwan.
In a thinly veiled reproach of the US, Xi said he hoped France would encourage the EU to pursue an “independent” policy towards China, echoing a message he delivered to Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, this month.
Additional reporting by Maiqi Ding in Beijing, Edward White in Seoul and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington