The G20 cannot allow Russia to take the world economy hostage – Tribune by Catherine Colonna in the Jakarta Post (08.07.2022)

(Translated from English)

The G20 is at a crossroads. One of its members, Russia, has flagrantly violated the fundamental values ​​that underpin the multilateral system built after the Second World War.

The spirit of cooperation among G20 members is based on a simple idea: it is always possible to resolve our differences through cooperation and dialogue, even through competition, rather than the use of force.

The G20 was created in 2008, not in the 19th century. It does not belong to those ancient times where the reason of the strongest dictated its law and where powers could defend their interests by conquering new territories by force and denying their neighbors the right to exist. The G20 is firmly committed to international law and territorial integrity, the defense of peace, the protection of human rights, and the preservation of security and the rule of law.

For most G20 members, Russia lost all legitimacy as a member of this group when President Vladimir Putin made the decision to violate Ukraine’s borders. This will not change as long as this country continues its deliberate attacks against a sovereign state and its civilians: the behavior of the Russian army takes us back to one of the darkest periods in history, that of rapes, summary executions and other war crimes .

The G20 cannot look away from the war in Ukraine for another key reason: it has knock-on effects on the global economy that affect us all and could lead to a global recession and a significant setback in our efforts to fight poverty if we do not we act .

The G20 Heads of State and Government met in 2008 because the collapse of the financial markets made it necessary to coordinate response measures. A decade later, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world’s major economies not only that they really need to cooperate to combat the virus (no one is safe while everyone is not), but also that they need to modernize their macroeconomy. economic strategy to guarantee the resilience and security of its value chains.

Over the last twenty years, it has become clear to States that they urgently need to strengthen their cooperation to remedy market failures. The global economy is increasingly subject to shocks, with climate risks posing the greatest threat, and the G20 must address this if globalization is to remain sustainable.

The war of aggression against Ukraine is a new blow to the world economy. All indicators are red. Commodity prices have soared since February 24, putting millions at risk of starvation, inflation is rising everywhere and financial conditions are tightening, placing a disproportionate burden on developing economies. developing. Responsibility for this lies exclusively with Russia.

The global repercussions of the war in Ukraine have led to a paradigm shift that poses an unprecedented challenge for the G20, with President Putin deciding to weaponize access to food and energy like never before.

Russia is holding the world’s population hostage by blocking Ukraine’s grain exports. Russia is not only stealing grain from the occupied Ukrainian territories and deliberately destroying agricultural infrastructure, but has engaged in “wheat diplomacy” that risks destabilizing vulnerable countries due to its coercive economic strategy, regardless of price. human.

The same goes for energy exports: Russia chooses to create an artificial supply shortage to cause prices to skyrocket so that President Putin can fuel his war chest.

The G20 cannot be silent. You must act quickly. It is in no interest of any G20 economy to tolerate Russia’s hijacking of global value chains.

First, the G20 cannot bring itself to carry on business as usual. It is not about creating divisions, but about preserving the multilateral system and the global economy against Russia’s unilateral strategy. The G20 must urge Russia to end the conflict and withdraw its troops immediately. It is purely and simply about respecting international law, as the International Court of Justice has pointed out.

Second, the G20 must fight disinformation and base its response on objective and verified assessments of situations, not propaganda. Thus, it is not the European countries, or other countries, that have put the world’s barn to fire and blood with their sanctions, which do not affect food products or agricultural inputs, but Russia, with its multiple and deliberate attacks on infrastructure, such as grain silos, and its blockade of Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea.

Third, the world needs the G20 to address market failures stemming from the tensions and uncertainties caused by Russia’s war. The G20 must adopt responsible and transparent behavior in line with WTO commitments, including refraining from erecting unnecessary barriers to trade and combating speculative behaviour: we cannot allow them to profit from war.

OPEC+ has a key role to play in this regard to preserve the stability and transparency of the energy market.

Fourth, the G20 must show genuine solidarity. Given the tightening of financing conditions, the G20 must continue to reinforce financial support to the most vulnerable countries that do not have to pay the price of an unjust war.

Let us be clear: it is the credibility of the G20 that is at stake today. We have full confidence in the authority of Indonesia, one of the world’s largest democracies, at this historic moment. Indonesia can count on France and its partners so that the Bali Summit will mark a decisive step in favor of peace, stability and the restoration of confidence in world cooperation.


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