Argentina calls for international cooperation and dialogue at opening of G-20 summit

General view of the plenary hall prior to the opening of the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires, on Nov 30, 2018.
General view of the plenary hall prior to the opening of the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires, on Nov 30, 2018.PHOTO: AFP
The run-up to the summit has been marked by deep disagreements between major powers over issues such as trade and climate change.
The run-up to the summit has been marked by deep disagreements between major powers over issues such as trade and climate change.PHOTO: AFP

BUENOS AIRES - Argentinian President Mauricio Macri opened the Group of 20 leaders' summit in Buenos Aires on Friday (Nov 30) with a call for international cooperation, urging the world's 20 largest economies to come together to tackle common challenges even as he acknowledged growing doubts about multilateralism.

"In the last few years, current multilateral mechanisms, including the G-20, have come under fire because of social, political and economic shifts within each country and across the globe," said Mr Macri at the opening of the summit, which Argentina is hosting as this year's G-20 president.

The run-up to the summit has been marked by deep disagreements between major powers over issues such as trade and climate change.

"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. We can't resolve problems such as the future of work or climate change issues on our own," said Mr Macri.

He reminded the leaders how 10 years ago, the G-20 came together in a spirit of dialogue to prevent a worsening of the global financial crisis.

"Even though the agenda that brings us together today is different, I'd like to ask you to act with the same sense of urgency that brought us together in 2008. In a diverse world, with so many different protagonists with their own background and culture, the essence of the G-20 is to foster dialogue while respecting differences while encouraging actions based on shared interests," said Mr Macri.

"The solution is dialogue, dialogue, and dialogue," he said.

Countries can come together with the understanding that they each have their own preferences, values and interests, but with a common goal of fostering sustainable development, he added.

But he acknowledged that consensus cannot be reached overnight, saying: "It is a process with progress and setbacks, and which will continue even after the G-20."

 

Before his speech, the G-20 leaders' interactions with each other during their photo-taking session gave a glimpse into geopolitical friendliness and fault lines.

US President Donald Trump did not interact with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose meeting he had cancelled over the Russia's seizure of Ukrainian navy vessels in Crimean waters, but chatted instead with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Meanwhile, the two leaders somewhat shunned by the others greeted each other warmly. Mr Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the CIA reportedly concluded had ordered the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, shared a hearty handshake as they laughed and smiled together. The two were seated side by side.