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Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

The G20 foreign ministers commenced a two-day gathering on Wednesday in Brazil, facing a daunting agenda of conflicts and crises including the situations in Gaza and Ukraine.

Notable attendees include US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with China’s Wang Yi notably absent. Brazil, assuming the rotating G20 presidency from India, aims to leverage its influence, as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expressed optimism regarding the forum’s potential to shape the international agenda positively.

However, Lula’s recent controversial remarks, accusing Israel of “genocide” in Gaza, have stirred diplomatic tensions. Israel’s swift response, labeling Lula persona non grata, underscores potential hurdles to peace initiatives within the G20 framework. Despite ongoing conflicts, little progress has been made in resolving the Gaza conflict or addressing Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Efforts to pass a UN Security Council resolution on a Gaza ceasefire were thwarted by the US, citing concerns over ongoing negotiations and hostage releases. Similarly, divisions persist among G20 members regarding Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. Despite calls to denounce Putin’s actions, the G20’s previous summit concluded with a diluted statement on the use of force, reflecting internal discord.

Against this backdrop, the current G20 meeting will focus on addressing international tensions and reforming global governance. Brazil advocates for greater representation of the global south in institutions like the UN and IMF. However, with conflicts resembling Cold War-era complexities, urgent action is needed to prevent further escalation.

Brazil also seeks to prioritize poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation during its G20 presidency. Despite the opportunity for bilateral discussions, tensions between the US and Russia, exacerbated by recent events, may hinder diplomatic progress. Additionally, with numerous G20 members facing elections this year, consensus-building may prove challenging.

Given recent struggles for consensus, the hosts have waived the requirement for joint statements at each meeting, except for the annual leaders’ summit scheduled for November in Rio. This reflects the daunting task ahead for the G20 in addressing global challenges amidst geopolitical tensions and electoral uncertainties.

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