US president calls off scheduled G20 meeting citing Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian vessels.
Nineteen leaders of the world’s biggest economies and a representative of the European Union are set to meet on Friday and Saturday in Buenos Aries, Argentina as part of the Group of 20 summit.
This year, all eyes will be on a range of issues, including a high-stakes meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and the potential signing of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘s appearance at the summit is expected to cause some protests over the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Other demonstrations are also expected in the lead-up to the annual meeting.
Here are all the latest updates:
Friday, November 30
Saudi crown prince meets India’s Modi in Argentina
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed cooperation between the two countries in security, energy and investments, the Saudi press agency said.
The two leaders, who met in the prince’s residence in Buenos Aires, also discussed Saudi Arabia’s readiness to supply India with all its needs of oil and petroleum products and Saudi oil giant Aramco’s investments in the fields of oil refining and oil storage in India, it said.
The crown prince and Modi also agreed on investing in solar energy, it added.
UK PM May to speak to Saudi crown prince on Khashoggi, Yemen
British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to raise the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and the situation in Yemen with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in Argentina.
The killing of the Washington Post columnist, a critic of the crown prince, has strained Saudi Arabia’s ties with the West and battered Prince Mohammed’s image abroad. Saudi Arabia has said he had no prior knowledge of the murder.
“I am intending to speak with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The message that I give will be very clear … on this issue of Jamal Khashoggi but also on the issue of Yemen,” she told reporters on the flight to Buenos Aires.
“We want to see a full and transparent investigation in relation to what happened and obviously those responsible being held to account,” she said of Khashoggi’s killing.
Western nations are calling for an end to the Saudi-led military campaign in neighbouring Yemen, which was launched by Prince Mohammed, as a humanitarian crisis there worsens.
“On the issue of Yemen, we continue to be deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation,” May said. “The long-term solution for the Yemen is a political situation and we will be encouraging all parties actually to look for that and work for that.”
Thursday, November 29
Merkel to miss G20 opening after emergency landing in Cologne: spokeswoman
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will miss the opening of the G20 summit in Argentina after her plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Cologne on Thursday due to a technical problem, her spokeswoman said.
“We will not be proceeding today,” she told AFP.
According to tweets by German journalists on board the Airbus A340, named Konrad Adenauer after Germany’s first post-war chancellor, Merkel will leave for Madrid on Friday and head on a commercial flight for Buenos Aires with a slimmed down delegation.
The Chancellery did not confirm these reports.
Every Thursday since 1977, a group of women march around the Plaza de Mayo, the square in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, where the presidential palace is located.
Their demand? The return of their disappeared children.
Tens of thousands people were forcibly disappeared during Argentina’s last dictatorship (1976-1983). Many have be confirmed dead, the whereabouts of others remain unknown.
On Thursday, the group marched again, for the 2120th time, reiterating their demand as world leaders arrived in the city for the G20 summit.
Kremlin spokesman says Moscow ready for contact with Trump – RIA
The Kremlin regrets US President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Argentina and said Moscow is ready for contact with Trump, RIA news agency cited spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday.
Trump on Thursday said he was cancelling a planned meeting with Putin at the G20 summit, citing the crisis in Ukraine.
Trump’s meeting with leaders of Turkey, South Korea will be ‘pull asides’
US President Donald Trump’s meetings with the leaders of Turkey and South Korea will be “pull asides” at the Group of 20 summit rather than formal bilateral meetings, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters
Trump decided to cancel Putin meeting ‘while on flight to G20’
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday told reporters US President Donald Trump decided to cancel a scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his flight to the G20 summit, and said she was not aware of a conversation between the two leaders about the cancellation.
Trump spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Chief of Staff Kelly on the flight to the Group of 20 industrialised nations summit in Argentina and called National Security Adviser John Bolton, she said.
Sanders also said the US and Russian governments had exchanged phone calls.
Trump cancels meeting with Putin over situation in Ukraine
Trump said on Thursday he is cancelling his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin due to the situation in Ukraine.
The pair had expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018
Trump said he is looking forward to a summit with the Russian president once the Ukraine situation is resolved.
Responding to Trump’s comments, a spokesperson for Putin said Moscow had recieved no official information on the cancellation of the talks.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader would have a couple of extra hours spare for other meetings if the sit-down with Trump didn’t take place, Russian state media outlets reported.
Macron to meet with MBS
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of this weekend’s G20 summit, according to the Reuters news agency.
“I’ve always been very clear about the issue of Saudi Arabia and I will inevitably have the opportunity to discuss it with the Saudi crown prince on the sidelines of the G20,” Macron told reporters on Thursday.The French leader’s comments came after Argentine President Mauricio Macri said there could be discussions about complaints against MBS during the summit, which is being held in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.
The G20 includes:
The 33-year-old de facto ruler of Saudi has been under intense scrutiny following the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul last month.
Trump says no meeting planned with MBS at G20
As Trump left the White House for the G20 summit in Argentina, the US president said he would have been willing to meet with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but no such meeting was set up.
Trump says he’s close to doing something with China on trade
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was close to making a deal with China on trade but is not sure he wants to do it and likes where things stand now.
As he left the White House for the G20 summit in Argentina and a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump told reporters he was open to making a trade deal.
Kremlin confirms Putin-Trump meet
The Kremlin has announced it has received confirmation from Washington, DC, that a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US counterpart Donald Trump will take place on the sidelines of this weekend’s G20 summit.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that the two leaders will hold a “conversation” on Saturday, which will be followed by longer negotiations.
The US had threatened to cancel the face-to-face talks because of an ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine following the former’s seizure of three of the latter’s ships in waters near the Crimean peninsula on Sunday.
Merkel to press Putin over Ukraine tensions
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will press Russian President Vladimir Putin at this weekend’s G20 summit over the country’s ongoing dispute with Ukraine.
Tensions between Kiev and Moscow have been heightened in recent days following the latter’s seizure of three Ukrainian ships on Sunday in waters near the Crimean peninsula.
Addressing a Ukrainian business summit in Berlin on Thursday, Merkel said the situation could only be resolved through “talks” as there was “no military solution”.
“I’m for putting the facts of what we know so far on the table and (ask) that all soldiers get released and also that one doesn’t force confessions like we’ve seen on television recently,” she said, referring to appearances by some of the captured Ukrainians on Russian state television earlier this week.
Russia’s FSB security service released video footage on Tuesday of some of the captured Ukrainian sailors admitting that their actions had been deliberately provocative and that they had ignored Russian orders to stop moving through the Russian-controlled Kerch Strait.
Kiev contends the individuals were forced to lie under duress and has denied that the ships intruded into Russia’s territorial waters.
Wednesday, November 28
Argentine civil society organisations have kicked off a series of actions scheduled for this week against the G20 summit.
“We reject policies which favour large multinationals and imperialist countries and not the people or the rights of nature,” said Beverly Keene, spokesperson for Confluence G20 and IMF Out, which is organising a People’s Summit on Wednesday and Thursday.
The anti-G20 gathering aims to provide an open space to discuss ideas for a peaceful and just future.
Argentine judge seeks help from Turkey, Yemen in Saudi crown prince case
An Argentine judge reviewing a complaint by Human Rights Watch (HRW) against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his involvement in the war in Yemen asked Argentine’s foreign ministry to seek Turkey and the International Criminal Court for information, the judge’s office told Reuters news agency.
On Monday, HRW asked the judge to use a war crimes clause in its constitution to investigate any involvement by the crown prince in possible crimes against humanity in Yemen and Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.
The office of federal judge Ariel Lijo said on Wednesday it was seeking information on any open cases relating to the murder of Khashoggi or war crimes in Yemen.
A representative of the federal prosecutor’s office that is working with Judge Lijo on the complaint told Reuters it was still reviewing HRW’s request and that no decision had yet been made on whether to investigate it.
Putin to discuss Khashoggi murder with MBS
Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the G20 in Buenos Aires, his foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov said on Wednesday.
“Of course, they will talk about this subject,” Ushakov said, referring to the Khashoggi’s murder.
However, he said the “main aim” of the meeting will be “the development” of Russian-Saudi relations.
Earlier on Wednesday, Putin praised top OPEC oil exporter Saudi Arabia and Prince Mohammed personally for his role in agreeing to “balance supply and demand” in crude production.
“This is the first time in the history of this organisation (OPEC) that we have succeeded 100 percent in doing this,” Putin told attendees at an investment forum in Moscow.
“I must admit that this is largely thanks to the position of Saudi Arabia. This is essentially down to Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince,” the Russian leader said.
IMF chief warns trade tensions could hurt global economy
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chairwoman Christine Lagarde has warned world leaders escalating trade tensions, including car tariffs and Brexit, could hurt the global economy.
In a report for the G20 leaders meeting in Buenos Aires, the IMF said car tariffs, if imposed, could cut 0.75 percent off the global economy.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on autos as part of his aggressive trade strategy focused on preserving US jobs.
He has hit half of US imports from China with steep punitive tariffs, which has drawn retaliation from Beijing.
Emerging market economies, especially China and the euro area, are already seeing their economies slow, while a “no-deal Brexit could further dent confidence”, Lagarde said in a blog post that accompanied the report.
Lagarde warned the upcoming G20 gathering that “the global economy faces a critical juncture”.
“We have had a good stretch of solid growth by historical standards, but now we are facing a period where significant risks are materializing and darker clouds are looming,” she said.
“Rising trade barriers are ultimately self-defeating for all involved. Thus, it is imperative that all countries steer clear of new trade barriers, while reversing recent tariffs,” she stressed.
Saudi crown prince arrives in Argentina
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman landed in Buenos Aires for the G20 summit, according to Argentine TV news.
His arrival comes amid international furore over the murder of Khashoggi and a request by Human Rights Watch that Argentina investigate him for war crimes in Yemen.
AP Analysis: Will MBS be a pariah at G20?
All eyes will be on Prince Mohammed, particularly over the killing of Khashoggi. There have been allegations that he ordered the killing, which happened inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. There will be leaders who won’t want to get caught in a grip-and-grin situation with MBS.
It’s a photo opportunity that could cause serious ripples, even disgust, and have concrete repercussions at home by appearing to exonerate or legitimise the man US intelligence agencies concluded ordered the killing.
That won’t be a problem for US President Donald Trump, who drew bipartisan ire in the US Congress for effectively giving the prince a free pass in the name of “America First”, based on the president’s vastly exaggerated claims of Saudi military contracts and investments in the US.
It may well be that Trump will go out of his way to embrace the de facto Saudi leader as others scurry away, treating him as a pariah.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has kept international pressure mounting on Saudi Arabia, is also expected to attend. The crown prince has requested a meeting with Erdogan on the sidelines of the summit, according to Ankara.
MBS leaves Tunisia to Argentina to attend G20: report
Earlier in the day, Reuters news agency reported that Prince Mohammad left Tunisia for Argentina to attend the G20 summit, where all eyes will be on world leaders’ reaction to the man accused of ordering Khashoggi’s murder.
The prince left Tunisia early on Wednesday, Reuters quoted Al-Arabiya’s website as saying.
The crown prince’s G20 attendance is a bold effort to force the issue of whether world leaders will work with Saudi Arabia, analysts say. Riyadh is also indicating with his appearance in Buenos Aires that Prince Mohammed is back in the saddle and the worst of the controversy is over.
Human Rights Watch requested that Argentine authorities arrest the crown prince and that he be tried by a court for war crimes in Yemen and Khashoggi’s killing.
Tuesday, November 27
Trump: I may cancel Putin meeting at G20 over Ukraine conflict
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he may cancel his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina because of Russia’s maritime clash with Ukraine.
“Maybe I won’t have the meeting. Maybe I won’t even have the meeting … I don’t like that aggression. I don’t want that aggression at all,” Trump told the Washington Post in an interview.
White House adviser says China-US trade deal still possible
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that Trump will have a dinner meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 gathering in Argentina and also held open the possibility that the two countries would reach a trade deal.
“There is a good possibility that we can make a deal and he is open to it,” Kudlow, the National Economic Council director, told a press briefing, referring to Trump.
No plans for Trump-MBS meet at G20: Bolton
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said President Donald Trump had no plans to meet Saudi Crown Prince Prince Mohammed at this week’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that while no meetings are planned, she could not rule out any interaction between Trump and Prince Salman.
Trump will meet leaders of Russia, Japan, Germany, Argentina at G20
President Trump will have bilateral meetings with the leaders of Argentina, Russia, Japan and Germany when he and the American delegation go to Argentina for the Group of 20 summit later this week, a White House spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
Trump is also expected to meet separately with China’s Xi Jinping for the first time since the world’s two largest economies imposed tariffs on each other’s imports.
No plans for a Trump-May meeting at G20
British Prime Minister Theresa May has no specific plans for a bilateral meeting with Trump at the G20 meeting later this week, her spokesman said on Tuesday.
On Monday, Trump stoked concerns among some of May’s legislators about her Brexit deal by saying he thought it was good for the EU and may make trade between Washington and London more difficult.
May’s office disputed that, saying it would allow Britain to sign trade deals with countries throughout the world.
Monday, November 26
Trump says he expects to raise China tariffs: WSJ
Trump said on Monday he expects to move ahead with raising tariffs on $200bnin Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent currently.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said it was “highly unlikely” he would accept China’s request to hold off on the increase.
Trump, who is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires this week, said if negotiations are unsuccessful he would also put tariffs on the rest of Chinese imports.
Prince Mohammed arrived in Egypt on Monday, the third leg of his first trip abroad since the murder of journalist Khashoggi in Turkey last month.
Prince Mohammed is expected to travel to Tunisia after his two-day visit to Egypt before heading for a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires.
Last week, Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, said all eyes will be on MBS as world leaders gather for the G20 meeting from November 30 to December 1 in Argentina
Hashemi noted the Argentina trip puts Prince Mohammed in possible legal jeopardy under the policy of universal jurisdiction under international law.
“If there is a case brought against the Saudi crown prince for war crimes or murder by another court that is considered to be credible then an indictment can be issued against him when he arrives in Buenos Aires. So, I suspect this is something his lawyers and advisors are looking into,” Hashemi told Al Jazeera.