G20 finance chiefs will gather in Bali this week to discuss challenges such as global food security and skyrocketing inflation, but Germany and France are skeptical of Indonesia’s promises for common ground as tensions over Ukraine boil.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominated a meeting of the Group of 20 major countries’ foreign ministers last week, when Russia’s top diplomat stormed out and accused the West of “frenzied criticism”.

When it was the time of the Russian envoy to speak at the most recent G20 finance chiefs’ conference in Washington in April, officials from certain Western countries fled the room.

Germany expects more open and direct talks with Russia this time, according to government officials in Berlin on Wednesday.

“Most will want to adopt a different approach on the day, after April,” one of the insiders noted.

However, the source put a damper on prospects of reaching an agreement on an unified declaration after the meetings, saying Russia and China were likely to band together amid tensions with the West over the Ukraine crisis.

When the negotiations conclude on Saturday, Indonesia expects to publish a communiqué, something that the April conference failed to achieve, but its central bank governor indicated that if that is not possible, the conclusions would be summarized in a chair’s statement.

“We hope for the best, but of course prepare for the worst,” said Perry Warjiyo, head of Indonesia’s central bank.

“I don’t want to speculate, we are still trying very hard to reach a communique,” he said last week in an interview.

Officials in Indonesia have observed discrepancies between Western nations and Russia over how to write a draft communiqué describing the status of the global economy and how it is being impacted by the conflict in Ukraine, which Moscow refers to as a “special military operation”

Yellen and Suzuki are scheduled to attend the Bali summit.

According to Indonesia, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov will speak remotely at the conference, with his deputy traveling to Bali. Ukraine’s finance minister has also been invited and will participate in one of the sessions electronically.

Wempi Saputra, Indonesia’s G20 deputy for finance, said the group would endeavor to come up with initiatives to assist impoverished nations deal with an impending food crisis by assuring food and fertilizer availability and affordability.

Other issues on the agenda include the establishment of a World Bank fund to better prepare for future pandemics, as well as a Resilience and Sustainability Trust at the International Monetary Fund that nations in need of funding may utilize, as well as debt relief for impoverished countries.

According to Wempi of Indonesia, a multinational signing of a worldwide tax agreement, which was originally slated on the sidelines of meetings, has been pushed back. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has set a new deadline of 2024 for the main tax revision, rather than 2023.

Source: Reuters

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