JAKARTA – Indonesia on Friday July 15 urged finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 largest economies (G-20) meeting in Bali to step up their efforts to address the current global economic challenges aggravated by war. from Russia to Ukraine.
Seeking consensus on collective action in her opening remarks to the two-day meeting, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati called for tangible progress in tackling the “triple threat” of soaring commodity prices, global inflation and war.
“We are acutely aware that the cost of our inability to work together is more than we can afford. The humanitarian consequences for the world, and especially for many low-income countries, would be catastrophic,” she said.
Dr. Sri Mulyani noted that about 60% of low-income countries are in debt distress or close to debt distress, while dozens of developing countries are unlikely to be able to repay their debt over the next year.
Acknowledging the high expectations placed on the meeting, where talks can sidestep politics in favor of realistic and technical discussions on important issues, she described Indonesia’s role as an “honest broker” and promised to consult with all members of the group without discrimination.
Indonesia has sought a balance of interests within the group, divided by war in Ukraine amid growing economic pressures from rising inflation.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine eclipsed previous G-20 meetings, including last week’s foreign ministers’ meeting, which did not produce a communiqué at its conclusion.
French and German officials expressed skepticism about the ability of the ongoing meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, to find common ground, given tensions over Ukraine.
But Dr Sri Mulyani stressed Indonesia’s intention to achieve an outcome that can be “clearly communicated to all external stakeholders” as the group seeks to tackle the worsening global crisis.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is attending the meeting in person, condemned Russia’s “brutal and unjust war” in Ukraine during the opening session and noted that Russian officials attending the meeting shared responsibility for the “horrible consequences” of the war.
She welcomed Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko and blamed the negative fallout from the war “only” on Russia, Reuters reported.
Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov is in Bali for the meetings, while Ukraine’s Finance Minister, although not a G-20 member, is expected to address one of the sessions virtually.
Singapore is among a few other non-member countries invited, with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Bali for the meeting.