Dhaka Courier

G-20 Summit in Argentina

img
Thousands of demonstrators have flooded an avenue in Buenos Aires to protest against the Group of 20 summit taking place in the Argentine capital. (Internet)

G20 Buenos Aires summit was the thirteenth meeting of Group of Twenty (G20), which was held on 30 November and 1 December 2018 in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was the first G20 summit to be hosted in South America.

The members of the G -20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China,France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico,, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

All the government leaders (Presidents & Prime Ministers) reportedly participated the Summit. Japan would host the G-20 meeting summit in 2019. China hosted summit in 2016 and Germany in 2017. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appearance at the summit prompted some protests over the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

As the host nation, Argentina invited additional guest countries and international organizations at its discretion to participate in 2018 G20 meetings. The countries invited by Argentina are Chile and the Netherlands. International organizations invited by Argentina are the Caribbean Community (represented by Jamaica), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF)   Most of the leaders were accompanied by their spouses.

It may be pointed out that President Mauricio Macri of Argentina assumed the one-year G20 presidency on 30 November 2017, during an official ceremony in Kirchner Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The first G20 meetings of the Argentine Presidency began in Bariloche in early December 2017. They were attended by central bank deputy governors and deputy ministers of finance.  During the buildup to the G20 Summit between world leaders on 30 November 2018, Argentina hosted over 45 meetings at various government levels and areas in 11 different cities throughout the country.

Argentina had put up three agenda priorities for the G20 dialogue in 2018: the future of work, infrastructure for development and a sustainable food future.

A number of attending countries have said they focus on the regulation of crypto-currencies at this meeting. Talks between the U.S. and China related to resolving the escalating 2018 China–United States trade war were a central issue of the summit.

On 30 November, ahead of the formal start of the summit, Presidents Peña Nieto and Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada signed the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), the successor treaty to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

China and the United States have agreed to halt additional tariffs as both countries engage in new trade negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement within 90 days, the White House said on 1st November. The breakthrough came after a dinner meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Summit.

G20 final communique said the members reaffirm ‘commitment to further strengthening the global financial safety net with a strong, quota-based, and adequately resourced IMF at its centre’.

The text of the communique announced on 1st December, the last day of the two-day summit, has added that international trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. It also has said leaders note current trade issues, reaffirm their pledge to use all policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. The communique said the group would safeguard against downside risks, by stepping up our dialogue and actions to enhance confidence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin got his chance to talk with US President Donald Trump after all - but their brief exchange over Ukraine conflict with Russia didn’t accomplish much.  “I answered his questions about the incident in the Black Sea. He has his position. I have my own. We stayed in our own positions,” Putin told reporters.

It is reported that President Donald Trump chatted with the leaders of Canada, Japan and France during a group photo session at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. But Trump walked by, without appearing to acknowledge, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Officials in French President Emmanuel Macron’s office say that when Putin and Macron met on 30th November, Putin pulled out a sheet of white paper and sketched out the Ukrainian coast and the disputed waters where the weekend incident took place. The French officials say Macron asked for documents proving Russia’s claims, and insisted on the need for restraint in the conflict.

Ukraine contends its ships were in international waters, while Russia claims the boats violated its maritime border. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, and neither Ukraine nor Western powers recognize the territory as Russian.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he should take action to prevent the recurrence of incidents like the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, her office said on 30th November.

The summit itself, with leaders from France, Russia and Saudi Arabia among those attending, has been struggling to carve out any accord on fighting climate change.

The Elysee Palace reportedly said that French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed oil prices and the role Saudi Arabia can play in its fluctuations.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed cooperation between the two countries in security, energy and investments, the Saudi press agency said.

After the summit, G20 leaders have attended a cultural show at the Colon Theater, the landmark in the Argentine capital that is one of the world’s great opera houses.   US President Donald Trump, Germany’s Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin were among the dignitaries who joined for leaders’ photo before they took their seats at the stately Belle Epoque building that was founded in 1908.

It is worth noting that every Thursday since 1977, a group of women march around the Plaza de Mayo, the square in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, where the presidential palace is located. Their demand? The return of their disappeared children since tens of thousands people were forcibly disappeared during Argentina’s last dictatorship (1976-1983). Many have be confirmed dead, the whereabouts of others remain unknown. On 29th November, Thursday, the group marched again, for the 2120th time, reiterating their demand as world leaders arrived in the city for the G20 summit.

Thousands of demonstrators reportedly flooded a downtown avenue in Buenos Aires to protest the Group of 20 summit taking place in the Argentine capital.  They’re waved flags and held up banners with slogans like “Go away G-20” and “Go away Trump.”

Argentina’s security minister confirmed that eight petrol bombs were discovered in an area of the capital where a protest against the G-20 summit is expected later in the day.

The Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) organized a counter-summit, called the First World Forum of Critical Thinking, which took place in the week leading up to the G20 event. It was attended by other politicians such as former Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff, Bolivian vice president Álvaro García Linera, former Colombian president Ernesto Samper, and human rights activist Estela de Carlotto. At the event, former Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner criticised the economic policies of her successor Mauricio Macri and the IMF loans that he had received.

Barrister Harun ur Rashid, Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

  • G-20 Summit in Argentina
  • Issue 25
  • Barrister Harun ur Rashid
  • Vol 35
  • DhakaCourier

Leave a Comment