Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Russia, growth top agenda as G-20 summit opens

Published:Sunday | November 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, (left) leans over to greet Russian President Vldamir Putin, (center), as they join other world leaders to watch a cultural performance of indigenous dancers at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday. Seated next to Putin is South African President Jacob Zuma.


An initiative to boost global growth by two per cent in five years was expected to top the agenda but Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis dominated the first of a two-day summit of G20 leaders in Australia.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he needed to "get out of Ukraine".

United States President Barack Obama said Moscow's "aggression" in Ukraine was a "threat to the world", while the United Kingdom threatened more sanctions unless Russia stopped "destabilising" its neighbour.

For his part, Putin denied that he is directly involved in Ukraine, and dismissed sanctions as pointless.

Economic plans

On the economic front, Australia's prime minister vowed that world leaders would deliver on an initiative to add US$2 trillion to global GDP, promising freer trade and more investment in infrastructure as heads of the 20 largest economies began cementing plans to drag sagging growth out of the doldrums.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has repeatedly promised this year's Group of 20 gathering in the Australian city of Brisbane would be more than a talk fest, said the growth plans would add millions of jobs and boost global GDP by "more than two per cent" above expected levels over the next five years.

G-20 nations, which represent 85 per cent of the global economy, are under pressure to take definitive action at this year's summit, rather than simply producing a set of vague, unmeasurable goals.