War in Syria on agenda as world leaders meet at G20 Turkey summit
ISTANBUL/ WASHINGTON: Syria’s war, migration and the fight against terrorism will force their way on to the agenda when world leaders meet this weekend in Turkey.
Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies (G20), including the US, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia and Brazil are to meet tomorrow and Monday in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya primarily to discuss global economic issues.
But the summit takes place just 500km from Syria, whose four- and- a- half year conflict has seen Islamic State militants transform into a global security threat and spawned Europe’s largest migration flows since World War II.
While the talks will largely focus on economic challenges such as boosting global growth, the fallout of expected US rate increases, and China’s rebalancing, the leaders will also discuss the fight against terrorism and the refugee crisis.
Several officials said it was only the second time that the G20, founded in 1999 to promote global financial stability, would formally tackle issues outside its core remit of co-ordinating international economic policy.
“As the G20 leaders gather in Turkey this weekend, they will have on their minds heartbreaking images of displaced people fleeing countries gripped by armed conflict and economic distress,” Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said ahead of the summit.
But with so many divergent agendas it remains to be seen whether the G20 will be able to shed its “talking shop” image. The EU expects a battle to have migration even recognised as a global issue with some states, including Russia and China, reluctant to discuss it.
Several officials said reference would be made to the migration crisis, although they doubted it would go far beyond platitudes.
Turkey, which has taken in more than 2.2 million refugees from Syria and Iraq and has so far largely shouldered the burden alone, is keen to have a strong statement.
Ussal Sahbaz, director of G20 studies centre TEPAV, said the G20 would prefer to frame the refugee issue in terms of their positive economic contribution, and a strong message was unlikely to emerge.
Economic discussions will centre on three main issues at the summit: risks to financial stability from sharply divergent monetary policies in the US and Europe, China’s slowing growth and its transition from an export to a consumer economy and the impact of slumping commodities prices.
A senior US treasury official said on Tuesday that Washington would urge those at the summit to use monetary, fiscal and structural tools to offset a shortfall in global demand. – Reuters