Call for dialogue and consensus at G20 opening

US President Donald Trump meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Reuters)
Updated 01 December 2018
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Call for dialogue and consensus at G20 opening

  • Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was among the G20 leaders and was greeted especially warmly by President Vladimir Putin of Russia
  • The crown prince chatted with US President Donald Trump during the formalities, and met with Narendra Modi, prime minister of India

BUENOS AIRES: The G20 summit of the most powerful countries in the world opened in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires with a call for dialogue and consensus from Mauricio Macri, the president of the country hosting the event.

“The essence of the G20 is to foster dialogue while respecting differences, and we hope to lay the foundations for consensus for the next 10 years,” Macri said.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was among the G20 leaders and was greeted especially warmly by President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Television pictures showed the two statesmen sharing a joke and a warm handshake.

But Macri underlined the challenges facing the gathering, which takes place at a time of increasing tension in political and economic relations between the leading powers.

“Many people look at us and have doubts regarding these summits and what they’re good for. It is our duty to show to the world that today global challenges require global responses,” he said.

He outlined the issues facing the assembled leaders as climate change, sustainable development, food security and international trade, which will be the subject of group and bilateral discussions.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greet each other at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia shares many of the priorities of the G20 in terms of youth employment, female empowerment and technological transformation.

The 20 government leaders — as well as representatives of other invited nations and international institutions — were welcomed on stage at the Costa Salguero Center, the venue for the 13th G20 summit, on the shores of the Rio De La Plata.

The leaders — 35 men and two women — posed for the “family photograph” traditionally taken at G20 gatherings, before heading to the plenary chamber room for initial round-table discussions, to be followed by a series of one-to-one conversations between leaders in the center’s maze of meeting rooms.

The crown prince chatted with US President Donald Trump during the formalities, and had meetings with Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, where a number of commercial initiatives between the two countries were discussed. President Emmanuel Macron of France had a conversation with the crown prince, French officials said in media reports.

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LIVE: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets world leaders at G20

Saudi crown prince and Indian PM meet in Buenos Aires

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Theresa May, the British prime minister, told journalists that she was planning to meet with the crown prince while in Buenos Aires to discuss the military situation in Yemen as well as other issues.

Saudi Arabia is the only country from the Middle East represented at the G20 gathering, which includes 19 of the largest economies in the world and the EU. The G20 nations account for 85 percent of the world’s economic output and two thirds of its population.

Tough talking is expected at the summit, especially between Trump and Xi Jinping of China, over global trade. There could also be confrontation between the American and Putin over the escalating confrontation in Ukraine, which caused Trump to cancel a planned meeting with Putin.

On climate change, the American president holds different views from many of the other G20 leaders.

The summit was held in tight security conditions, following threats of violent disruption from some groups in Buenos Aires. Armed soldiers in military vehicles manned checkpoints leading to the summit venue and the media center some 5 kilometers away. But there were no serious disturbances reported on the opening day of the summit.


Australia warns citizens ahead of expected Jerusalem move

Updated 18 min 16 sec ago
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Australia warns citizens ahead of expected Jerusalem move

  • Morrison is expected to stop short of actually shifting Australia’s diplomatic corps to the Holy City, amid warnings from his own officials about the cost and security implications
  • But the move still risks heightening unrest, both in Australia’s immediate neighbor Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim nation — and further afield

SYDNEY: Australia on Friday warned citizens to take care while traveling in neighboring Muslim-majority Indonesia, ahead of an expected but contentious move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce — as soon as Saturday — that his government will follow US President Donald Trump’s lead and recognize the contested city as Israel’s capital.
Scores of Australians preparing to jet off to Bali and other tropical island destinations for upcoming summer holidays should “exercise a high degree of caution,” the Department of Foreign Affairs warned.
Officials in Canberra told AFP they expected the announcement to come on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, but cautioned that events could yet alter those plans.
Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. Critics say declaring Jerusalem the capital of either inflames tensions and prejudges the outcome of final status peace talks.
Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv last May prompted tens of thousands of Palestinians to approach the heavily-protected Israeli border. At least 62 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire that day.
Morrison is expected to stop short of actually shifting Australia’s diplomatic corps to the Holy City, amid warnings from his own officials about the cost and security implications.
But recognizing Jerusalem would help the embattled Australian PM — who faces the prospect of an election drubbing next year — with Jewish and conservative Christian voters and win him friends in the White House.
His supporters argue Israel has the right to choose its own capital and peace talks are dead in the water, so there is no peace to prejudge.
But the move still risks heightening unrest, both in Australia’s immediate neighbor Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim nation — and further afield.
The Palestinian government would press for Arab and Muslim states to “withdraw their Ambassadors” and take some “meat and wheat” style “economic boycott measures” if the move went ahead, Palestinian ambassador to Australia Izzat Abdulhadi told AFP.
Indonesia’s government, facing domestic pressure at home, had reacted angrily earlier this year, when Morrison floated the idea of both recognizing Jerusalem and moving the Australian embassy there.
The issue has put the conclusion of a bilateral trade agreement on hold.
In the meantime, Australia’s foreign ministry has moved to prepare the ground.
“Demonstrations have been held in recent weeks around the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the Australian Consulate-General in Surabaya,” it warned in a public notice Friday.
“Protests may continue at the Embassy in Jakarta or at any of Australia’s Consulates-General in Surabaya, Bali and Makassar,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.”Exercise a high degree of caution.”
Tensions are currently running high between Israel and the Palestinians.
At least 235 Palestinians and two Israelis have died during violence in Gaza since March, mostly in border clashes.
On Thursday the Israeli army launched raids into the Palestinian city of Ramallah after a Palestinian shot dead two Israeli soldiers at a bus stop in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu vowed to ‘legalize’ thousands of settlements homes considered unlawfully-built even by Israel.
In total six people were killed in the most violent 24 hours to hit the West Bank and Jerusalem in months.