Five guest countries are to reinforce the G7 summit in Elmau, two from Asia, two from Africa and one from Latin America. Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees the invitations as part of his era-changing promise, he wants to use them to strengthen the cohesion of democracies around the world and not – as has long been the case – just to focus on the ‘West. This is why India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Argentina are now coming to Elmau, important emerging countries which together are home to almost a quarter of the world’s population.
All five have likely felt increasing pressure recently to position themselves clearly against Vladimir Putin. the Hindustan time in Delhi writes that the Chancellor’s invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi is part of “Germany’s efforts to poach India from Russia in the context of the Ukrainian conflict”.
India is probably the country among the guests that maintains the closest contact with Moscow. As a supporter of the Non-Aligned Movement, Delhi has always insisted on independence, but at the same time has often sought closeness to Moscow. Delhi has also purchased almost all of its weapons there, which then need to be serviced and repaired. This dependency cannot be shaken off quickly – if Delhi wants it at all. India washed. Modi wants to avoid angering Russia, fearing such an upheaval could push Moscow further into the arms of Beijing, India’s most threatening neighbor.
Indonesia is on the G7 radar simply because he currently holds the G20 presidency. This forces President Joko Widodo to perform an unprecedented balancing act. The West would like to isolate Moscow as much as possible, but Russia is a member of the G-20 and has long invited Putin to the Bali meeting this fall. Under pressure from the United States, Indonesia now welcomes Volodymyr Zelensky there, even though Ukraine is not part of the Club of 20.
The war in Ukraine is far away for these countries
Western nations are showing growing interest in Indonesia’s involvement, which currently has to do not only with Russia but also with China. Although Jakarta is courting Chinese investment, it is also resisting Beijing’s drive to expand into the South China Sea. The two Asian countries are reluctant to choose one side or the other, they don’t want to be offended by either Moscow or Washington, the war in Ukraine is far away for both of them.
It is therefore unlikely that the G7 summit will initiate a break between these countries and Moscow, but it could open doors to new cooperation, for example in the areas of climate, health and nutrition.
Of South Africa, with Cyril Ramaphosa at the helm, is unlikely to sever ties with Moscow, last week the Russian Embassy in Pretoria hosted a cocktail party to mark Russia’s National Day. “The era of centuries of Western domination is being blown away by the winds of change, giving way to something new and better,” the ambassador announced. A photo then showed the South African Minister of Labor raising a glass with the Ambassador. That was enough as a symbol: the South African government says “Na Zdarowje” while Ukraine is bombed.
Although many South Africans probably don’t think it’s a good idea, there was no uproar. What happens in the world beyond South Africa is rarely of great interest. Pretoria’s foreign policy is still shaped by those who stood with the ANC in the struggle for freedom. This is why the regime in Zimbabwe is tolerated, even though millions of people have fled to South Africa. To this day, the former Soviet Union is also thanked for its help.
and Senegal? In early June, President Macky Sall met Putin in Sochi. Sall came less to the head of state than to the head of the African Union (AU). “I have come to you to ask you to realize that our countries, even if they are far from the theater of war, are victims of this economic crisis.” Many countries on the continent got their grain supplies mainly from Russia and Ukraine, as well as sunflower oil. This is no longer the case now, prices are rising considerably, millions of people risk starving to death.
Gas from Patagonia could eventually replace supplies from Russia
Sall didn’t even try to persuade Putin to end the war, he focused on the consequences. Putin announced his desire to “facilitate the export of grain from Ukraine”, Sall wrote after the meeting, a public relations success for Russia. Sall has not yet traveled to Ukraine. Zelensky was allowed to address all 54 AU heads of state virtually, only four did so aloud Africa Report part of it.
From Latin America is only Argentina invited, perhaps because she currently holds the presidency of CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. However, President Alberto Fernández will also be in his own name: his country could at least become a closer partner of the G7 countries. “We have a lot to offer,” says Fernández. Argentina exports soybeans, corn, wheat, fruits and meat. Additionally, the country has the second largest oil shale deposit in the world. Funding has long stagnated. Too expensive, too little infrastructure. Today, the changed world situation could give a new impetus, gas from Patagonia could one day replace deliveries from Russia. Argentina would bring in the currency the heavily indebted country urgently needs.
Fernández calls for a peaceful solution in Ukraine, but his country has refrained from criticizing Russia, not least because it does not want to completely lose Moscow as a partner. In the pandemic, many were vaccinated with Sputnik V, including the president. However, China has emerged as the most important economic partner, pumping billions into infrastructure.
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