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Finance Ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministers Addressed the G7: Call for Suspension of Russia’s and Belarus’ Membership in International Institutions

Date

2022 04 14

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Minister of Finance of Lithuania Gintarė Skaistė and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis addressed the Finance Ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministers of the G7 calling for the immediate and indefinite suspension of Russia’s and its ally Belarus’ membership in international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG).

According to the Ministers G. Skaistė and G. Landsbergis, the international community must clearly demonstrate that Russia’s and Belarus’ military aggression is not tolerated.

“Russia and Belarus cannot further have access to the resources of international financial institutions — we must prevent any possibility of redirecting these funds to the financing of the war against Ukraine. The aggressor countries also cannot participate in making decisions on financial assistance to Ukraine in supporting the country both in the short term and in rebuilding Ukraine after the war," noted Minister of Finance G. Skaistė. — “We call on the major Western countries to take steps to complement the international sanctions regime and to suspend Russia’s and Belarus’ membership in international financial institutions — Lithuania is ready to actively support this strand”.

Next week, Minister of Finance G. Skaistė will speak about the suspension of Russia’s and Belarus’ membership in international financial institutions at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

“For its unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine, Russia must be as much isolated as possible in all, including financial, international forums and institutions, to lose the privileges of the membership. The suspension of Russia’s membership should be a significant part of international sanctions, which would help to stop the Kremlin’s war machine,” stated Minister of Foreign Affairs G. Landsbergis.

The Lithuanian Ministers’ referral notes that both Russia and Belarus currently have access to Special Drawing Rights of the IMF, where Russia has accumulated SDR for about USD 23.9 billion, Belarus — USD 1.42 billion. The suspension of these countries’ membership in the IMF would prevent Russia and Belarus from taking advantage of existing SDRs and deter the aggressors from strengthening their available foreign exchange reserves, thus complementing the sanctions already imposed by the EU and Western partners on the central banks of these countries. 

The referral proposes to assess the possibility of suspending Russia’s and Belarus’ membership in the International Monetary Fund by amending the articles of the IMF Treaty, providing for a suspension mechanism for a Member State.

The referral also highlights that although the World Bank Group has suspended operations in Russia and Belarus since the beginning of the war, further actions are needed to suspend the membership rights of the aggressor countries. The letter states that the decision to suspend the IMF membership would trigger the automatic suspension mechanism in the case of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

Please note that Special Drawing Rights (SDR) are an artificial backup measure and instrument for international settlements. Their value is based on a basket of five major international currencies: US dollar, euro, pound, yuan and yen. Issued SDRs may be used as a reserve currency stabilising the value of the domestic currency of the country, or converted into stronger currencies to finance the investments.