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G20 Summit opens in Argentina amid Ukraine crisis

President Donald J. Trump and President Mauricio Macri of the Argentine Republic appear on stage during the G20 welcoming ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

World leaders are meeting in Argentina for their annual Group of 20 (G20) summit amid new tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced ahead of the summit that he was canceling his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s recent seizure of Ukrainian vessels.

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri opened the summit on November 30 with a call for member states to support international cooperation and multilateralism.

Macri said that the gathering of major economic powers will focus on issues such as labor, infrastructure, development, financial stability, climate sustainability, and international commerce. He added that it will be an agenda “centered on people.”

Meanwhile, Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman shared an enthusiastic greeting at the opening of the summit in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. The two men beamed widely and clasped hands.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the 33-year-old crown prince ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s establishment, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Saudi officials have blamed the killing on rogue agents and denied the crown prince had knowledge of the operation.

Trump said he might have a discussion with the Saudi leader during the summit, but so far they hadn’t talked.

A White House official said that so far Trump had only exchanged pleasantries with the crown prince at the leaders’ opening session, just as he did with nearly every leader in attendance.