G20 final document unlikely to address Ukraine crisis

G20 final document unlikely to address Ukraine crisis
G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors begin their annual meeting in Sydney, February 22, 2014. They will treat Ukraine at their two-day meeting in Washington, later this week, the same way as they have talked about past crises, a Russian G20 official said.

BRUSSELS - The world's financial leaders are likely to discuss possible risks to Europe's economy from the crisis in Ukraine, but there are no plans to mention it in the final document from their Washington meeting, two G20 officials said.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 developed and emerging economies will treat Ukraine at their two-day meeting later this week the same way as they have talked about past crises, a Russian G20 official said.

"There is no mention of the situation in Ukraine (planned for the G20 communiqué)," the official said. "One way or another, the issue will be brought up during discussions but it will be approached from the point of view of risks the crisis in Ukraine can create for the region as a whole. This is a traditional approach."

The G20 is also likely to talk about the planned International Monetary Fund programme for Ukraine and about the crisis as a general geopolitical risk that would have negative effects on the European economy only if it escalates, another official involved in the preparations for the meeting said.

"It will appear in the discussion as geopolitical risk, but also because the Russians are there I don't expect that will be high in the discussions of the G20," the second official, a non-Russian, said.

Last month Ukraine won a US$14 billion (S$17.6 billion) - US$18 billion standby credit from the IMF. The country's economy was thrown in chaos after popular protests in Kiev ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich in February and Russia seized Ukraine's Crimea and annexed it, causing the worst standoff between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

"Of course there is concern, the tension escalated, but markets have more or less made the assumption that there will be a diplomatic solution so they can shrug it off," the second official said. "If that is not the case and at a certain moment you have an escalation, then you could have a re-appreciation of the risk and then could be spillovers on us."

 

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