Delivering his final address at the end of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg Russian President Vladimir Putin chose to focus his speech on the economic decisions made by the representatives, doing his best to avoid the Syria question which has hung over the entire conference.
“The situation in the global economy looks better now than it did five years ago. Economic growth is recovering, but risks of course are still very, very great,” Putin told a news conference.
Echoing his opening speech, the Russian leader once again stressed the importance of assisting developing countries.
He repeated that loopholes allowing multinational companies to avoid paying tax where it was due were being tightened.
When pressed on Syria, President Putin said he had productive sit down talks with US President Barack Obama, but the two were still at odds on the realities of the conflict, and went on to say it would be “counter productive” to further destabilise the Middle-East through military involvement.
Improvement, but no end to the crisis
The G20 achieved unprecedented cooperation between developed and emerging nations to stave off economic collapse during the 2009 financial crisis, but the harmony has since waned.
Despite their differences, the leaders agreed on a summit declaration that the global economy is improving although it is too early to say the crisis is over, particularly with with emerging markets facing increasing volatility.
The leaders stuck closely to a statement issued by G20 finance ministers in July that demanded monetary policy changes must be “carefully calibrated and clearly communicated”.
“Our most urgent need is to increase the momentum of the global recovery, generate higher growth and better jobs, while strengthening the foundations for long-term growth and avoiding policies that could cause the recovery to falter or promote growth at other countries’ expense,” the leaders said.
Leaders of the G20 – which groups developed and emerging economies accounting for 90 percent of the world economy and two-thirds of its population – acknowledged the troubles faced by some emerging nations but said it was up to them, first and foremost, to put their own houses in order.
Putin’s full speech at G20 closing press conference
Obama’s full speech at G20 closing press conference