Meet confirms Russia’s isolation again: Macron

Meet confirms Russia’s isolation again: Macron

ByRezaul H Laskar, New Delhi

Sep 11, 2023 12:23 AM IST

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French President Emmanuel Macron has said that the leaders’ declaration at the G20 Summit does not boost Moscow diplomatically, as it reflects Russia’s isolation and the majority of G20 members have denounced the war in Ukraine. Macron also stated that the G20 is not the forum for making diplomatic progress on the Ukraine conflict, as it is primarily focused on economic and financial issues. He added that the G20 supports a just and lasting peace, despite disagreements among member states on the Ukraine issue.

The leaders’ declaration at the G20 Summit does not amount to a diplomatic boost for Moscow since the communique reflects the isolation of Russia and a majority of the grouping’s members have denounced the war in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday, suggesting a day after the historic document was sealed that divisions persisted and the interpretation of the text depended on the prism through which it was being viewed.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference after attending the G20 summit in New Delhi on Sunday. (AFP)

Macron, who was addressing a news conference after the two-day summit, also said that G20 is not the forum for making diplomatic progress on the Ukraine conflict since the bloc was created to discuss international economic and financial issues after the 2008 global crisis.

“I don’t feel this is a major diplomatic win or anything else, other than isolation for Russia,” Macron said. “This G20 confirms once again the isolation of Russia. Today, an overwhelming majority of G20 members condemn the war in Ukraine and its impact.”

Western members of the G20 have faced criticism at home since the leaders’ declaration made no direct reference to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine — something that was mentioned in the joint communique adopted at the last G20 Summit in Indonesia — while alluding to the actions of Russia in the context of the war.

The G20, Macron said, is “not the place where you’ll have diplomatic progress on that topic (the Ukraine crisis)”. He added: “Let’s be honest that the G20 is not a forum for political discussions. And we’re here to mainly talk about economic topics and climate change.”

The G20 supports a just and lasting peace even if member states disagree on the Ukraine issue, he said, noting that 16 members of the G20 approved all UN resolutions that condemn Russia while three abstained.

“The G20 said it supports a just and lasting peace. This is exactly the opposite of what Russia is saying,” Macron said. The G20 also reiterated its support to territorial integrity and the UN Charter, and Russia is in a “very isolated position”, he added.

Juxtaposing his comments with those of Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov later in the day — Lavrov said that the paras on Ukraine could not be viewed in isolation and that the text was a victory for Russia — Macron highlighted that the positions on issue remained unaltered even if the framing could be spun to validate either perspective.

Macron said that India did its utmost for the G20 to work for unity and peace and “send across the message of unity while Russia is still waging its aggression in Ukraine”. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said France stands alongside India in these efforts.

Modi also had a bilateral meeting over lunch with Macron on the margins of the G20 Summit on Sunday and the leaders agreed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation through a partnership in design, development and manufacture of advanced military technologies and platforms, according to a joint statement.

They further agreed to expand production of defence hardware in India, including for third countries in the “Indo-Pacific and beyond”. In this context, they called for the early finalisation of a Defence Industrial road map.

The leaders also assessed progress in bilateral relations since their last meeting in Paris in July and exchanged views on important international and regional developments.

In the context of several key outcomes of Modi’s last visit to France, including the Horizon 2047 Roadmap and Indo-Pacific Roadmap, the leaders discussed overall progress and next steps in implementing new goals for cooperation in defence, space, nuclear energy, digital public infrastructure, critical technology, climate change, education, and people-to-people contacts.

The leaders also reviewed the India-France partnership in the Indo-Pacific and Africa, including in infrastructure, connectivity, energy, biodiversity, sustainability and industrial projects.

“They underlined their role of providers of solutions for the Indo-Pacific through their cooperation in the framework of the International Solar Alliance, launched by India and France, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure,” the joint statement said.

In the field of civil nuclear cooperation, Modi and Macron acknowledged the “good progress” in discussions for the Jaitapur nuclear plant project and welcomed continuing engagement to expand cooperation to establish a partnership for co-developing small and modular nuclear reactor technologies, and the forthcoming signature of a dedicated declaration of intent, the joint statement said.

“France reiterated its steadfast and unwavering support for India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” it added.

Modi thanked Macron for France’s support to India’s G20 Presidency, which sought to address global challenges and build a more stable global order through unity. India and France also welcomed the African Union to the G20.

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