President Alberto Fernández condemned “the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation” as he addressed the G7 Leaders Summit in Bavaria this week, reiterating his call for a “cessation of hostilities.”
The summit at Elmau Castle in the German Alps was dominated by the conflict in Ukraine, which has negatively impacted economies across the world. With world leaders talking up their unified stance against Russian aggression, the G7 announced a number of steps against Moscow, including the outlawing of imports of Russian gold, its second-largest export and significant source of revenue.
In his speech to the leaders of the world's most industrialised nations, President Fernández called on Russia and Ukraine to engage in dialogue, reach “a peaceful settlement” and to respect the “principles of multilateralism.”
“History shows that every conflict has ended with agreements reached on the basis of concrete initiatives. Let us take the initiative for peace now. Let us do so before it is too late,” he declared, observing that war was raging just 1,800 kilometres away from where they all sat.
"The war before us is a tragedy. Trade flows and logistics, already severely damaged during the pandemic, have reached a critical point. The seas are militarised. The war promotes spending on armaments to the detriment of investment in protein, health or education that humanity so badly needs," said the Peronist leader.
Moving on to themes of poverty and inequality, Fernández used a large part of his address to ask the leaders of the G7 to create “a new international order where efforts are balanced and advantages are distributed with criteria of equity.”
"The problem is not poverty,” he added. “The problem to be solved is the economic system that generates it and allows wealth to accumulate in the hands of a few.”
‘New international order’
In the second half of his speech, Fernández addressed international financial architecture, calling for a more inclusive global economic system that included countries from “the peripheries of the world.”
Repeating his calls for changes in the way the International Monetary Fund works, he said that the multilateral lender’s Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, could be used to “improve social conditions” rather than “swell the reserves of central banks that do not need them.”
“They should have a social sense, capitalising regional banks to finance the infrastructure required for the development that climate change also demands,” he added.
“The policy of surcharges charged by the IMF must also be reviewed. They constitute an unacceptable penalty in today's dramatic circumstances,” said the Argentine leader.
The president also called for renewed action against climate change, saying it was a “scandal” that “global contributions to the Green Climate Fund have not yet been met.”
"Building sustainable peace is also about building climate peace. Without it we will only see an increase in forced migration and a decline in economic productivity,” he added.
Speaking during a later section of proceedings that addressed food security, Fernández criticised "protectionist and tariff barriers.”
"An escalation of prices puts the food security of humanity at risk,” said the Peronist leader, who slammed “financial speculators who contaminate trade in raw materials.”
"If the current crisis is prolonged, a humanitarian catastrophe will be unleashed," he said, warning that more than "300 million people in the world are on the road to famine."
"The food problem does not lie in production but in access to food. Argentina will continue to be a secure supplier and will continue to provide technological assistance and services for other countries to improve their agricultural productivity.
“Argentina, as part of Latin America and the Caribbean, feels that in the face of the emergency it has a role to play and challenges to address. We want to commit ourselves to promoting dialogue and peace building," he added.