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Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva greets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo: @LulaOficial, @RicardoStuckert (Twitter/X)



G20 Meeting in Brazil: Lula highlights role of the Global South while Western powers argue over Russian assets

Marina Vanni

As finance ministers from the world’s largest economies gathered in Sao Paulo for the G20 meeting, the focus was set on economic cooperation to tackle pressing issues like climate change and poverty. But as discussions got underway, geopolitical tensions, particularly regarding Russian assets, resurfaced.

The disagreements among Western powers, especially evident between the G7 nations, showcased the complexities facing the G20. While the U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued for leveraging Russian assets to aid Ukraine’s reconstruction, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire countered, emphasizing the need for consensus among G20 members before such actions.

On his part, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva hosted Russian chancellor Sergei Lavrov. "We discussed bilateral agendas, the debates taking place at the G20 and issues such as the new global governance and the BRICS. I reiterated Brazil’s continued readiness to collaborate with peace efforts in Ukraine", said the president on Twitter/X. 

Nevertheless, Brazil, presiding the meeting, aimed to steer conversations away from these geopolitical minefields and towards sustainable development, echoing Lula’s vision of giving a stronger voice to the Global South. This emphasis on inclusivity was seen in proposals like a global minimum wealth tax and tackling tax havens.

In his opening remarks, Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad highlighted the importance of combating inequalities, a key priority for Brazil’s G20 presidency. Despite progress in fighting inflation post-pandemic, there’s recognition that more work lies ahead.

Lula’s presidency marks Brazil’s latest turn in the global spotlight, aligning with its broader strategy of enhancing its international influence. Its proactive stance, postponing its BRICS leadership to focus on the G20, underscores its commitment to set foot on the world stage.

Author: Marina Vanni

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