Commonwealth stopped condemning Russia as Trudeau gears up for G7 – National
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to the G7 in Germany on Saturday with no Commonwealth consensus to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but with a chorus of countries calling for help to weather the fallout from the war.
Trudeau and Foreign Minister Melanie Joly arrived in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Wednesday for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which has been dominated by concerns from nations suffering from food shortages.
In the summit’s final communiqué, the 54 Commonwealth countries said they discussed the conflict in Ukraine, « stressed the need to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states », and « stressed that all countries should seek a peaceful resolution of all disputes in accordance with international law”.
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Countries refrained from condemning Russia, as Trudeau and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did throughout the summit.
« I can assure you that the topic of Ukraine’s defense has been discussed a lot, » Trudeau said at a news conference after the summit’s conclusion, referring to « strong language » in the statement.
Most Commonwealth nations condemned Russia’s actions in a vote at the United Nations in March, but 10 abstained. Among them is India, whose Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose not to attend the Commonwealth summit and instead spoke virtually with the leaders of Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa. South.
Trudeau said Russian President Vladimir Putin had waged a disinformation campaign and even “told outright lies,” including blaming the food security crisis on Western sanctions against Russia.
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He said the food shortage stemmed from Russia’s illegal actions, including the blockade of key ports, as well as the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian grain storage facilities with cruise missile strikes.
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« I’ve been very clear with our friends and partners around the table, and not just about Russia’s responsibility, but about how Canada and the West are intervening, » Trudeau said.
Canada will raise the growing threat of famine during the G7 at Schloss Elmau in Germany, Joly said.
She said Canada was in « listening mode » at Commonwealth meetings, where leaders of smaller countries were able to speak without the dominating presence of the United States, Russia and China.
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« What is clear to us is that Russia is weaponizing food and taking a heavy toll on many countries around the world, and putting 50 million lives at risk, » Joly told reporters in Rwanda on Friday.
Trudeau had attempted to meet with African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat for several days during the Commonwealth summit, but the meeting was repeatedly postponed and eventually canceled.
Shortly after Trudeau’s arrival in Rwanda, the government announced that Canada would assign a new ambassador to the African Union, which has suffered from food shortages inflicted on the continent following the war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Putin met with African Union officials, with Russia blaming sanctions on its government for stopping the flow of grain.
At the end of the Commonwealth Summit, Trudeau announced $94 million in funding for various education initiatives and $120 million to support gender equality and women’s rights in Commonwealth countries.
Some of the other voices the Prime Minister has promised to center at his international meetings, including the G7 summit, belong to young leaders who spoke at an event on Saturday morning focused on the issues facing young people around the world.
Some of the delegates spoke of the devastating effects of climate change, particularly around remote island nations where infrastructure cannot withstand natural disasters and reconstruction efforts take years. The assault is impacting education and health services, a delegate told the forum.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 25, 2022.
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