In the luxurious golf complex of the tourist resort of Antalya, Turkey welcomed the leaders of the 20 richest countries in the world, for a two day summit.
“At the G20 summit leaders talked about international trade, employment policies and the fight against tax evasion, however the massacre in Paris, on the eve of the summit, redefined the agenda,” reported euronews’ correspondent Margherita Sforza.
The main absentee was Francois Hollande, the French President. He was replaced by his Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, to whom the Turkish President expressed deep condolences
All the G20 leaders, a forum that also brings together heads of state and governments of rich emerging economies like India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and China, strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in France and in Turkey last month.
The violence of the so-called Islamic State was a reminder of the urgency for a political solution for Syria. It was discussed in several bilateral meetings, as between US President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The discussion we had today I think was very helpful in helping to continue to coordinate the work we were doing together to help to fortify the borders between Syria and Turkey that allow Daesh to operate, and we will redouble our efforts working with other members of the coalition to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria,” explained US President Barack Obama.
The G20 Leaders agreed to strengthen their cooperation in exchanging information concerning the flow of foreign fighters and in tackling the source of financing of terrorism, freezing the terrorists’ assets.
“Only if we full cooperate on exchange of information about suspicious transactions will be able to stop this threat effectively,” said Donald Tusk, EU Council President.
Domenico Lombardi, of the Canadian think thank CIGI – Centre for International Global Governance Innovation – said the focus should be on policies to eradicate the cause of terrorism and poverty.
“Fighting terrorism financing is ultimately not going to eradicate terrorism per se, as we do need to put in place sources for economic growth, economic growth that can be shared that can benefit in a wider number of areas, countries and people,” he said.
Thanks to the pressure from the Turkish government and the EU, G20 recognised for the first time the scale of the current refugee crisis as a global concern. NGOs such as Oxfam were asking for more financial support not only for humanitarian assistance but for long term development projects in countries hosting Syrian refugees.
“The reality for refugees for example in Lebanon and Jordan where Oxfam works is increasingly dire, they have less and less assistance, and in many case they don’t have the right to reside legally in those countries, cannot access employment, and this is why we see refugees making increasingly desperate choices,” explained Daniel Gorevan, Oxfam’s policy advisor on the Syria crisis.
Surprisingly leaders had heated discussions until the last minute on a compromise on fighting climate change with countries like India trying to water down a more binding text, pushed by France and the EU, just two weeks before the Cop21 assembly in Paris.