NEW DELHI: Negotiators from G20 countries are heading towards a landing zone on the Ukraine conflict after talks that lasted well beyond midnight and a breakthrough is in sight over the contentious issues.
After days of intense negotiations among sherpas circulated a revised paragraph over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which is said to have found favour among the G20 membership, sources told TOI.
Barring a last-minute glitch, an understanding on the issue would pave the way for a joint communique to be issued at the end of the leaders’ summit and this would emerge as a major victory for India’s presidency.
The language over the war on Ukraine has been the key sticking point between the G7 countries and Russia and China on the other side. The West wanted the text to make a strong condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, something that was being resisted by the other side.
Sources said that sherpa level talks went on through the day on Friday but it was only towards early Saturday morning that some sort of a breakthrough was achieved. Sherpas are envoys of leaders and the draft worked out by them will need to be accepted by the leaders.
India had played a key role in resolving the impasse at last year’s G20 Summit in Bali where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “this is not an era of war” helped stitch together a declaration.
But the issue raised its head again during India’s presidency with ministerial meetings ending without a communique, reflecting the unanimity over all the issues. Instead, the outcome document and joint statements had a footnote noting Russia and China’s dissent over the reference to the war.
Most of the issues that are on the G20 agenda had been settled a few days ago after softening of stance by the Chinese side, which had been a key stumbling block.