Indonesian Finance Minister Shri Mulyani Indravati said on Friday it was vital for Group of 20 (G20) financial leaders to reach consensus during the Bali talks, warning that otherwise it could be “catastrophic” for low-income countries facing a sharp rising food and energy prices.
The financial leaders of the largest G20 economies are meeting on the resort island as host Indonesia tries to find common ground in a group weakened by the war in Ukraine and growing economic pressure from soaring inflation.
Australia Treasurer Jim Chalmers will attend the two-day meeting with Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe.
On Thursday, the treasurer said the meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors took place at a crucial moment.
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Low (left) and Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers (right) attend the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on July 15, 2022. Source: A MONKEY / Made by Nagi / AP
“As the recovery from the effects of the pandemic continues, many countries are simultaneously facing rising inflation amid slowing economic growth, tightening financial conditions and geopolitical challenges,” Mr. Chalmers said.
“(The meeting) demonstrates the importance Australia places on our deep friendship and strategic partnership with Indonesia and their G20 Presidency.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”, has overshadowed previous G20 meetings, including last week’s foreign ministers’ meeting.
Ms Indrawati said the world had high hopes that the group could find a solution to the triple threat of war, rising commodity prices and their spillover effect on the ability of low-income countries to repay debt.
“We are well aware that the cost of our inability to work together exceeds our ability. The humanitarian consequences for the world, and especially for many low-income countries, will be catastrophic,” she said.
The G20 includes Western countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia and accuse it of war crimes in Ukraine, which it denies, as well as countries such as China, India and South Africa that are reacting with more restraint.
Ms. Indrawati urged G20 members to talk less about politics and “build bridges with each other” to make more technical decisions and actions.
“We need to strengthen the spirit of multilateralism, we also need to create a security system for our future cooperation,” she said.
German and French officials expressed skepticism about the possibility of reaching common ground due to tensions over Ukraine.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen condemned Russia’s “brutal and unjust war” in Ukraine and said Russian financial officials who attended the meeting shared responsibility for the “terrible consequences” of the war.
The Ukrainian finance minister is expected to speak virtually at one of the sessions, Indonesia said.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov will also give a virtual speech, and his deputy will travel to Bali.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov walked out of a meeting with his counterparts in Bali last week after what he called his country’s “frantic criticism” of the war.
This meeting ended without a communiqué or any announcement of an agreement. Ms Yellen said one of her key goals was to advance the G20.
creditors, including China, to complete debt relief for countries in debt distress.