Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says if it were up to him, the G20 leaders’ declaration on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would have been much stronger.
At a closing summit news conference, Trudeau said Sunday that if other leaders had their way, the declaration would have been much weaker.
He called the G20 an “extremely disparate group,” adding representatives worked hard to get the strongest language they possibly could.
Global economic leaders agreed on a final declaration at the G20 summit, but the language surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has softened since the leaders last met.
The consensus statement from this year’s summit in India was posted by the host country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday, a day before the summit’s conclusion.
It calls for the cessation of military destruction or other attacks on relevant infrastructure, as the violence is affecting food and energy security as well as supply chains.
Gone is language from last year’s G20 summit in Bali, where leaders directly criticized Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and demanded its troops withdraw from the territory.
Trudeau said Sunday that Canada would continue to support Ukraine with whatever it takes for as long as it takes.
“Not only is Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine criminal and unacceptable, and killing thousands of people, it’s also creating energy and food insecurity around the world.”
Trudeau said this week he advocated for collective action to hold Russia’s Vladimir Putin accountable and to secure “a just and durable peace” that starts with Moscow’s immediate withdrawal from Ukraine.
Canada will never recognize the results of the “ongoing sham elections” held by Russia in Ukraine, he added. “People like Putin mistake being reasonable for being weak. He is dead wrong.”
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The G20 urged the resumption of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizer shipments from Russia and Ukraine, saying it was necessary to feed people in Africa and other parts of the developing world.
The leaders’ communique also focused on gender equality, countering terrorism and money laundering, and building digital technology and green infrastructure.
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Despite Canada having a large Indian diaspora population, a cloud lingers over the two countries’ diplomatic relations amid the long-standing presence of a movement in Canada intent on forging a separate Sikh homeland in the Punjab region.
In addition, Trudeau’s national security adviser has cited India as being among the top sources of foreign interference in Canada, a public designation Ottawa has largely limited to authoritarian states.
Trudeau said Sunday that both subjects came up during a meeting at the summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On foreign interference, Trudeau said he stressed to Modi the importance of respect for the rule of law, the integrity and sovereignty of democratic institutions and processes, and the ability of citizens of a country to choose their future.
“Diaspora Canadians make up a huge proportion of our country, and they should be able to express themselves and make their choices without interference from any of the many countries that we know are involved in interference challenges,” Trudeau told the news conference.
Modi tried to grasp Trudeau’s hand during a wreath laying ceremony at the summit, but Trudeau pulled away.
Leaders of the most powerful countries were greeted by Modi at Gandhi’s cremation site, with Modi embracing several leaders with a handhold.
That included Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trudeau, who shook Modi’s hand, was the only leader to pull away from the longer handhold.
Asked about the exchange, Trudeau suggested people could read into it what they wish.
Trudeau also skipped Modi’s leaders’ dinner the night before, with the Prime Minister’s Office refusing to say why.
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