Germany’s Scholz: G20 consensus on war in Ukraine to be ‘tough ride’
(Adds more Scholz quotes, background)
BERLIN, Nov 14 (Reuters) –
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies would find it difficult agreeing clear statements on global issues and the war in Ukraine when they meet this week for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“We are working very hard to ensure that we not only make clear, important statements on all the issues that affect the world together… but also on the issues of peace and the consequences of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine,” Scholz said during a joint news conference with Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, in Singapore.
“That’s going to be a tough ride, and I think it’s going to take up a lot of our time and efforts in Bali,” said Scholz, who visited Vietnam on Sunday and after his stop in Singapore will travel on to the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali, Indonesia.
The two stops on Scholz’s trip to the G20 meeting, which come just one week after a visit to Beijing, reflect Germany’s efforts to reduce its reliance on its top trade partner China and to boost ties with fast growing economies in Southeast Asia.
Expanding such ties is crucial in the face of the war in Ukraine, Scholz told a meeting of business leaders in Singapore on Monday.
Scholz also said he hoped to see quick progress in the European Union’s trade negotiations with Australia, India and Indonesia and that he remained open to new agreements beyond that.
Vietnam and Singapore are the only countries in the region that have a free trade agreement with the EU so far.
“Deepening cooperation is crucial because we all feel that the geopolitical ground beneath our feet is shifting,” Scholz said.
Reducing risky, one-sided dependencies for certain raw materials or critical technologies will play an important role in Germany’s national security strategy, he said, adding that de-coupling was not the answer.
“A world with new or resurrected trade barriers and de-integrated economies will not be a better place,” he said.
The G20 comprises 19 major advanced and emerging economies and the European Union. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Miranda Murray and Kirsti Knolle Editing by Paul Carrel and Gareth Jones)
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