Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Sunday assumed in New Delhi the rotating presidency of the G20 from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, although his term will begin officially on Dec. 1.
”I congratulate Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and hand over the gavel of the (G20) presidency to him, Modi said at the closing ceremony of this year's G20 summit in which world leaders achieved Saturday an unexpected group consensus for the final declaration with an indirect reference to the war in Ukraine.
In the end, the G20 quoted the UN-Charter: All states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state, adding that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.
Lula thanked India's efforts for its role as leader of the bloc, where he achieved, among other points, the inclusion of the African Union, as the South American country picked up the baton under the slogan Building a just world and a sustainable planet leading to the next Summit in Rio de Janeiro in November 2024.
During the coming year, the G20 will focus on three priorities: social inclusion, energy transition, and sustainable development in the social, economic, and environmental spheres.
During his speech, the Brazilian president stressed that for the group to function and be able to address today's global challenges adequately, it must remain united and present joint actions. We are not interested in a divided G20, Lula insisted. We need peace and cooperation instead of conflict,” he added.
Lula raised the issue a day after the group of 20 major economies issued a final statement in which it avoided criticizing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, a reflection of the lack of consensus in the bloc on the issue. The United States and some European countries wanted a condemnation of Moscow but there was no consensus.
In a TV interview with a local station, the Workers' Party (PT) leader said he believed the war in Ukraine should not be part of the G20 agenda, which should focus on social and economic issues. We cannot let geopolitical issues hijack the agenda of G20 discussions, Lula underlined.
He also insisted Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited to the Rio de Janeiro summit where he would not be arrested, despite an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant in this regard. Putin was represented in New Delhi by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Also missing the G20 Summit were Chinese President Xi Jinping, who met with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro in Beijing, and Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who is on a South American tour visiting Colombia and Chile.