G20 meeting opens with call for end to war in Ukraine

G20 meeting opens with call for end to war in Ukraine

Indonesia, host country of the G20 this year, called for an end to the war in Ukraine on Friday at the opening of a meeting of the heads of diplomacy of the group in Bali which should give rise to tense exchanges.

“It is our responsibility to end the war as soon as possible and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in the presence of her Russian counterpart. Sergei Lavrov.

The effect of war “is being felt around the world, on food, energy and budgets”, she stressed. “And as always, poor and developing countries are the most affected.”

The United States, supported by some of its Western allies, had called for Russia to be excluded from international forums.

Indonesia, which wants to maintain a position of neutrality as host country of the G20, however confirmed its invitation to the Russian Foreign Minister but also invited his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, who must participate online.

The heads of diplomacy of the G20 began a meeting which promises to be tense with the participation of the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart who had not met since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Russia’s Russian invasion of Ukraine and its worldwide repercussions on the economy and geopolitics will be at the center of the discussions, but the search for a consensus promises to be difficult and the American and Russian officials have warned that they will not meet separately.

“It clearly cannot be ‘business as usual’ with regard to Russia’s participation” in the G20, an American official told AFP.

Washington is expected to campaign during the meeting, which is a prelude to the G20 heads of state summit in November, for Russia to be isolated as much as possible on the international stage, especially from developing countries like India.

Sergei Lavrov was shown seated between his Saudi and Mexican counterparts as the meeting opened.

This meeting is a prelude to the summit of heads of state to be held on the Indonesian island in November and which was to be devoted to the means of ensuring global recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.

But the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has changed priorities by bringing together Westerners to denounce the offensive and send food and energy prices soaring.

A departure from the meeting of G7 members in protest at Russia’s participation is not expected, according to several diplomatic sources.

But there will be no group photo, contrary to tradition, said an Indonesian official.

– British departure –

The EU refuses that Russia uses the G20 meetings in Indonesia as “a platform for its propaganda” on the conflict in Ukraine, warned Thursday the spokeswoman for the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell.

France, for its part, expects a “harsh confrontation” with Russia, according to a diplomatic source.

The front of the Western allies, however, risks being damaged by the hasty departure of the head of British diplomacy Liz Truss, after the announcement of the resignation of Boris Johnson as leader of the British Conservative Party.

She left the island of Bali on Friday morning, a British embassy official confirmed to AFP.

The US Secretary of State will also try to reopen dialogue with Beijing with talks with his counterpart Wang Yi, scheduled for Saturday after months of tension related to several issues, including that of Taiwan.

The two officials will discuss “safeguards” around bilateral relations, but will also look at possibilities for cooperation, said a US official for East Asia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Russian counterpart on Thursday for talks dominated by Ukraine.

Sergei Lavrov told his Chinese counterpart that in the face of “the aggressive line of the West”, Russia was meeting “the understanding and support of a growing number” of countries in the international community.

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