Modi kicked off the G20 Summit with a hot global issue, the current situation in the Middle East. He has condemned the civilian killings in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war and called for persistent and timely humanitarian aid to the region.
India has developed close, strategic ties with Israel since the 1990s, but also has long-standing relations with Arab countries.
“It’s very important that the humanitarian aid reaches time and continuously. It’s important to ensure that the Israel-Hamas conflict does not become a regional conflict,” says Modi.
He adds that New Delhi abhors terrorism. “We believe that terrorism is unacceptable to us. Civilian deaths happening anywhere must be criticised. We welcome the move to release the hostages. We hope that all hostages will be released soon.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also blasted the international community’s double standards on the application of international law and touched on the current wars in Ukraine and Gaza.
“I understand that this war with Ukraine, death of people can’t but be shocking. But what about the state coup in Ukraine in 2014 which was followed by the war of the Kyiv regime against their own people in Donbas, is it not shocking? What about the elimination of civilians in Gaza, is it not shocking? What about the surgeons having to operate on children, having to use scalpels on children’s bodies without anesthetic? is it not shocking? or the words of the Secretary General of the UN, saying that Gaza has turned into a huge cemetery for children. Is that not shocking?”
South Africa was represented by International Relations and Co-operation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, at the virtual session.
Among other objectives, G20 leaders want reforms for more impactful multilateral development banks to address 21st-century global challenges.
Tweet from SABC’s Khayelihle Khumalo:
Modi says the situation of insecurity and instability in Western Asia is a matter of concern for all of us. Today this meeting (of G20 nations) is a testimony that we are sensitive towards all issues and are standing together for their resolution. #Gaza #G20 #sabcnews
— KhayelihleKhumalo-James Jnr (@KhayaJames) November 22, 2023
The Summit is set to provide updates on key commitments especially as the world leaders have pledged to undertake collective actions aimed at fostering sustainable production and consumption patterns.
French President, Emmanuel Macron, Chinese Premier, Li Qiang, and US Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, also attended the session.
The G20 brings together the world’s major economies to push for global economic stability, sustainable development and climate change mitigation.