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As the impact on Ukraine worsens, the G7 is trying to woo onlookers – AFR

Five rising powers have become the target of the G7 industrial powers’ charm offensive as the rich nations club seeks broader support for their support of Kyiv.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is hosting the G7 advanced economies summit in the Bavarian Alps, said the invitation to Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa was a signal that the community of democracies was not focused on the West or the countries limited in the US to the northern hemisphere.

“The democracies of the future can be found in Asia and Africa,” said the German head of state.

On the eve of host nations joining the summit, the G7 launched a $600 billion global infrastructure program for developing countries.

But belying the invitation and altruistic program are fears of a global backlash building over Western support for Ukraine.

Western allies are fighting Moscow-fomented rhetoric that it is sanctions on Russia, not Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, that are causing the multitude of crises rocking the world.

“Russia is responsible for this dramatic crisis, not international sanctions,” stressed German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock recently at an international food security conference.

“We know about the indirect negative effects of sanctions and we recognize them. However, they are much less than the brutal crackdown by Russia, which uses hunger as a weapon,” she said.

– Skeptical –

Three of the five host countries – India, Senegal and South Africa – failed to condemn Russia for its attack on Ukraine, although Argentina and Indonesia did.

All five were hit hard by the economic consequences of the war.

Thorsten Brenner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute, noted that “a crucial task” for the G7 “is to convince many non-Western countries that are skeptical about sanctions that the West, in the design of sanctions, is their concern.” taken into account by rising energy prices”. .

Emerging markets have highlighted the hunger crisis threatening their countries as Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports sends wheat prices skyrocketing.

But other staples such as sunflower oil and fertilizers essential to cultivation have also become scarce as both Ukraine and Russia are big producers.

And a struggle for energy by Western powers trying to wean themselves off Russian energy has pushed up electricity prices – again hitting the poorest hardest.

Comments by Senegalese President Macky Sall after his recent visit to Moscow to hold talks with Putin over the food crisis alarmed Western officials.

Sall had said he was “reassured” by Putin and instead urged Ukraine to clear the waters around its port of Odessa to allow grain exports.

At the same time, Western allies are trying to ensure that emerging economies refrain from taking measures that could worsen the crisis.

India’s decision to halt wheat exports and Indonesia’s decision to halt palm oil exports have sent shockwaves through commodity markets.

Argentina has also lowered its export quota for wheat.

Meanwhile, South Africa is suffering from rising oil prices.

A G7 official said Monday’s talks showed there was still work to be done to persuade the rising giants to take action.

– ‘Do not torpedo’ –

Putin is also pushing to expand his support, trying to hammer in his message that Western sanctions are to blame.

During a summit, Brazil, China, India and South Africa called on them to work together in the face of “selfish actions” by the West.

Amid fears of a widening rift between the West and the rest, European leaders softened their tone.

While there had previously been calls for G20 host country Indonesia to exclude Putin from the November summit, European leaders appear to have backed away from that stance.

A Kremlin adviser said Monday Putin plans to attend the summit after receiving the official invitation. Jakarta has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Scholz said the group of major developed and developing countries will continue to play a “big role” and cooperation is key.

Germany will therefore “not torpedo the work of the G20,” Scholz told ZDF.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday that she would not rule out sitting at the same table with Putin at the G20.

“It’s also important to tell him to his face what we think of him,” she said.

“And we need to think carefully about shutting down the entire G20,” she said, warning that the bloc, which accounts for 80 percent of total global economic output, is “too important a platform” to undermine.

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