PREVIEW: G20 foreign ministers to discuss global affairs in Mexico
By Andrea Sosa Cabrios Feb 18, 2012, 6:06 GMT
Los Cabos, Mexico - Los Cabos, an exclusive resort town in north-western Mexico, is to host Sunday and Monday the foreign ministers of the Group of 20 major economies (G20), ahead of the leaders' summit that is scheduled to take place there in June.
When they gather in the Baja California peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Cortez, the desert and lush golf courses as the backdrop, the foreign ministers are expected to discuss global affairs including Syria and Iran, with the current economic uncertainty as an omnipresent concern.
Only ten of the foreign ministers from the G20 are to travel to Los Cabos, including heavyweights such as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton.
They are to be joined by eight deputy ministers and other lower-level diplomats from key G20 countries such as France, China, Brazil and India. However, the panel is to be strengthened by eight more ministers from non-G20 guest countries including Spain.
Mexico currently chairs the G20, which brings together major industrialized and emerging economies. In this capacity, it is getting ready to host a leaders summit June 18-19.
'We foreign ministers will discuss in an open, frank and informal way many pressing issues, including food safety, strengthening the rule of law and providing efficient and coherent leadership to tackle transversal global challenges,' the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement ahead of the ministerial gathering.
Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa ruled out that her peers might make statements on concrete critical issues including unrest and plans for a referendum in Syria, about which positions differ greatly even within the G20. However, it goes without saying that such thorny topics will be dealt with in informal talks.
Mexico's goal is to provide a setting for lively dialogue, which will not necessarily lead to an official concluding joint statement.
'It comes at a time in which the international situation offers many uncertainties,' Espinosa admitted.
G20 nations produce almost 90 per cent of the world's GDP and are home to two-thirds of its population. Although the group has been holding regular meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors since 1999, and leaders' summits starting at the apex of the US financial crisis in 2008, this is the first time it is holding a gathering of foreign ministers.
G20 finance ministers and central bankers are to meet the following weekend in Mexico City, where the European debt crisis is expected to drive discussion.
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