Yellen says Russia should be expelled from G20, US allowed to boycott some meetings

© . FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, arrives at a roundtable meeting at the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, Oct. 30, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli By David Lawder and Dan Burns () – US Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that Russia should be expelled from the forum of the Group of 20 Major Economies, and the United States will boycott some G20 meetings if Russian officials show up. Speaking at a hearing of the US House Financial Services Committee, Yellen referred to a meeting of G20 treasury ministers and central bank governors on April 20, a Treasury Department spokesman said. Since 2008, the club has been dealing with issues from COVID-19 relief to cross-border debt. It also includes countries like China, India and Saudi Arabia that are reluctant to condemn the invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation”. Yellen told lawmakers that the Russian invasion and killings of civilians in the city of Bucha “are an unacceptable affront to the rules-based world order and will have huge economic consequences.” The United States and allies have in recent months placed greater emphasis on the G7 grouping of industrial democracies, whose interests are more aligned, and have used these meetings to coordinate their response to the Russian war. Yellen said the Biden administration wants to oust Russia from active participation in major international institutions, although it was unlikely to be expelled from the International Monetary Fund given its rules. “President Biden has made it clear… that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in any of the financial institutions,” Yellen said. “He has asked for Russia to be taken out of the G20 and I have made it clear to my colleagues in (President of the President) Indonesia that we will not participate in some meetings if the Russians are present.” Yellen’s testimony came as the Biden administration announced a new round of sanctions to punish Russia. She also warned China — which has backed Russia remaining in the G20 — that the Treasury was ready to use its sanctions against Beijing in the event of aggression against Taiwan, which China claims as a wayward province. FLEXIBILITY ON ENERGY Russia’s participation in the April G20 meeting, to be held in Washington on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank meetings, is currently unclear. Moscow has said President Vladimir Putin plans to attend the G20 summit in Bali in November. Indonesia, which will also host a G20 financial meeting in July, was unable to expel or “fire” G20 members, including Russia, said a government official familiar with the matter, adding that the country will was whether a country was present. The new US sanctions against Russia prohibit Americans from investing there and close Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender and holder of a third of its bank deposits, along with other institutions in the US financial system. But transactions that allowed European allies to buy Russian energy were exempt because many European countries “remain heavily dependent on Russia, as well as on oil, and are committed to getting rid of that dependence as quickly as possible,” Yellen said. A complete ban on oil exports from Russia, the world’s third-largest producer, would likely lead to “sky-high” prices that would hurt both the United States and Europe, Yellen said. But she hoped oil companies elsewhere could be tempted to ramp up production, which, along with the release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, could lead to tighter restrictions on Russian oil. When asked whether the United States would impose sanctions on China if Taiwan is threatened, Yellen replied: “Absolutely…In the case of Russia…we have imposed significant consequences. And I don’t think you should doubt us. ability and decides to do the same in other situations.” Asked about Yellen’s comments, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Taiwan was an “inalienable” part of China’s territory, saying Washington was “playing with fire”.

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