G20 summit kicks off in Hamburg

 G20 summit kicks off in Hamburg

The two-day G20 summit started in Hamburg on Friday. Germany took over the presidency from China on Dec. 1, 2016. The main topics will be economic and financial policy, climate, trade, employment and development. Migration and refugee flows are other key issues of global significance. It is also widely believed that counterterrorism will be high on agenda. Another difficult topic will be about climate change, which is likely to trigger confrontations between US President Donald Trump and other leaders, including his western allies. 

Key multilateral and bilateral engagements will take place through the summit. One of the most expected is Trump's meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit. This will be the first face-to-face meeting since Trump’s election, and will come amid a wide range of disputes between the two countries, from the war in Syria to the conflict in Ukraine.

Only Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz will not attend the summit of the Group of 20 leading global economies. The leaders of Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Canada, China, Mexico, Russia, the US, Turkey, France, South Korea, South Africa, Japan and the European Union will take part in the G20 summit. Guinea, Kenya, Netherlands, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Spain and Vietnam are guest invitees.

Hamburg police is preparing a set of security measures, which would be the largest in the history of the German city. About 20,000 law enforcement officers will be on duty in Hamburg during the event. Mounted police units, thousands of police cars, one plane, at least 17 helicopters, 213 K-9 dogs and possibly drones will be deployed to secure the two-day event. About 4,000 police officers would protect the city's airport and the main railways station. Special units of law enforcement agencies from Austria and the Netherlands would help the city to ensure the security during the event. The units' officers would be escorting the heads of states and the governments arriving in the German port city. The German authorities have established a special security zone around the exhibition center that would host the summit. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived early on Friday at the Helmut Schmidt Airport in Hamburg.

Today, Putin is expected to take part in two official G20 sessions and one informal meeting to discuss political issues, such as global terrorism and the situation in the Middle East. He will also hold talks with the leaders of the BRICS group of nations. During the two-day summit, the Russian leader will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with other foreign leaders, including US President Donald Trump. 

On Friday evening, the Russian president and other leaders are invited to a formal reception by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He will continue his work in Hamburg on Saturday.

The head of the Regional Banking Association, the chairman of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development, Anatoly Aksakov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, said that Russia should expect good economic results from the G20 summit. "Unlike with the US, the situation with other members of the G20 is more favorable, and a degree of anti-Russian sentiment is not that high there. I recently met with deputies of the Bavarian parliament, and they had very positive attitude towards Russia. The Bavarians spoke with me in favor of developing cooperation and resolving disputed issues in the course of a dialogue. The same sentiments are in France and elsewhere, and they are even more pro-Russian in Italy," the deputy noted.

"Therefore, I expect significant positives from the G20, which will affect the position of the US towards Russia. China that is friendly to us also strengthens Russia's prospects at the summit, as well as India, South Africa and Brazil. By the way, European countries are more pro-Russian at the moment, than Americans, because they have more economic interests in contacts with the Russian Federation," Anatoly Aksakov stressed.

A senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, noted that from this G20 summit Russia expects the opportunity to stabilize the global situation and make the world economy more predictable. "The G20 is an influential and authoritative forum where the states with most developed economies meet," he said.

For Russia, the G20 is a good platform for explaining our positions. "For the same Ukraine, our position is clear and based on the Minsk agreements, but many foreign actors are trying to distort reality. For us, the G20 is an opportunity to present our position on all relevant and topical issues. The second aspect - it is important for us to hear the opinion of other countries, not its interpretation, but their direct thoughts. It's one thing - when information comes through a political party or an expert community, and it's quite another matter when heads of state express their opinion. This is what Russia expects to hear," Vladimir Olenchenko concluded.