Stage set for AU to join G20 as full member, hints FS

New Delhi, Sep 8 (UNI) African Union is set to become a full member of the G20 coming at par with the status of European Union (EU) in the grouping which represents around 85% of the global GDP.

“Prime Minister wrote a letter to all countries of G20 proposing that African Union be included as a full-member of the G20. We expect that the summit proceedings starting tomorrow morning would take a suitable decision on this,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said here on Friday.

Kwatra was briefing the media ahead of the G20 Leadership summit that kicks off on Saturday.

Duringpre-Summit media briefing, Amitabh Kant, India’s Sherpa to the G20 suggested that African Union is all set to become part of the G20.

“As far as the AU (African Union) is concerned, let me say that the Prime Minister who is a great believer in the Global South had written to all the leaders and there has been a very positive response but formally that will come before the summit,” Kant said.

On whether the absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping would affect the G20 proceedings, Kant said, “China is a multilateral player. In multilateral discussions, the issues are very different from bilateral issues, and Chinese discuss issues of growth, development, from their perspective.”

“The challenge about any multilateral discussion is that you have to bring consensus across every issue. Every country has a veto power and therefore we have to bring everybody onboard and I must say that we have been able to work with every single country, every single country and bring them onboard which you will later see,” he said.

On discussion over the Russia-Ukraine war at G20, Kant reiterated that the forum is economic and it discusses issues of growth and development.

“However, last year in Bali there was a feeling that issues of conflict and war have an impact on growth and development so food, fuel and fertilizer get impacted and therefore that issue was discussed. This year also, as a consequence of the challenge of growth and development and implementation of SDGs (sustainable development goals) that issue has been discussed at great length and we will talk about it once the leaders’ summit is over because whatever we discuss will have to be first discussed by the leaders and they will have to take a formal decision on that and then after that has been decided I will be free to speak to you at great length on this issue,” he said.

On the question of reforms in multilateral development banks (MDBs) and strengthening of institutions like IMF, Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth said that there has been very rich and intense discussion around them and India was hopeful that the discourse over the past nine months will get a positive consideration from the leaders.

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