This year, the traditional photo session of the participants of the G20 meeting will not take place, because a number of foreign ministers refused to take a photo with the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was followed by a number of foreign leaders from other countries, did not want to participate in a joint photo session with the representative of Russia, Japanese agency Kyodo reported.
S. Lavrov himself, commenting on such a step of his colleagues to the Russian propaganda media, said nothing and did not invite to take pictures.
“As for meeting me, saying they won’t take pictures with me. Well, I didn’t invite anyone to take pictures. And in general, I didn’t invite anywhere. The Indonesia invited me,” he said.
A. Blinken and several other diplomats also refused to meet with S. Lavrov. The Russian foreign minister then declared that he would “not run” after the United States to negotiate.
“We don’t refuse communication, the United States refuses it,” S. Lavrov told reporters during talks on the island of Bali. “We are not running to offer dates,” he added.
In an interview with the dpa agency on Friday morning, the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, confirmed that S. Lavrov will leave the G20 meeting earlier than planned.
“S. Lavrov is still conducting bilateral negotiations, then he will talk to the press and leave,” she said. This means that S. Lavrov will no longer participate in the G20 meetings and the official afternoon dinner.
Lavrov left the morning session after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock criticized Moscow for the invasion, diplomats said.
He also left the afternoon session, ahead of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s virtual address to ministers. S. Lavrov was also not present when A. Blinken condemned Russia.
If Western countries hope to help Ukraine win a battlefield victory against Russia, the talks are likely to be pointless, Lavrov said before leaving the Group of Twenty (G20) meeting.
If the European Union and the United States want to help Ukraine win, “then we probably have nothing to discuss with the West,” Lavrov said in his closing speech at the Bali summit in Indonesia.
Lavrov on Friday accused Western countries of encouraging Ukraine to “use their weapons” and criticized Western countries for portraying Russia as an “aggressor” and an “occupier” without assessing the facts. He also criticized Western sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion began in February.
Lavrov said he came to the G20 summit to get a sense of “what the West breathes.”
Blinken – to Lavrov: Ukraine is not your country
A Western official previously reported that Blinken spoke directly to his Russian counterpart at the closed-door G20 talks in Bali, demanding that Moscow allow the export of grain from war-torn Ukraine.
“To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Its grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? We must allow the removal of grain,” said A. Blinken.
As top Russian and US envoys gathered for a Group of Twenty (G20) foreign ministers’ meeting in Indonesia on Friday, its host was quick to say the war in Ukraine must end and that disputes should be resolved through negotiations.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov take part in the day-long talks. Washington is seeking support from the world’s largest economies to pressure Moscow over an invasion of the neighboring country.
At the start of the meeting on the resort island of Bali, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi spoke directly about the war. “It is our duty to end the war as soon as possible and resolve differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield,” Marsudi said, with Lavrov in the room at the time.
In Bali, Blinken will also seek to renew dialogue with Beijing, meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for the first time in months amid tensions over a range of issues, including Taiwan. The G20 meeting will aim to address issues related to the impact of war on food and energy security, the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and the damage of climate change. However, A. Blinken will avoid a direct meeting with S. Lavrov and point out that Moscow is responsible for the world food and energy crisis.
The hosts partially addressed US concerns about Lavrov’s attendance by inviting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to a G20 summit later this year and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleb to Friday’s meeting. But there will be no so-called family photo of G20 ministers as usual, an Indonesian government official told AFP.
Blinken, who arrived on the island on Friday, was seen talking to South Africa’s foreign minister before entering the room where Lavrov was, after their last meeting in January. At the start of the meeting, Russia’s top diplomat sat between the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
Friday’s meeting is a prelude to a leaders’ summit in Bali in November, which will focus on global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will not allow Russia to use the meeting as a “propaganda forum” for the war in Ukraine, his spokeswoman said Thursday.
Blinken’s efforts to shore up a strong Western position against Russia were undermined when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as leader of the Conservative Party on Thursday. It prompted British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to cut short a trip to Bali and pull out of Friday’s meeting. She left Bali on Friday morning to be replaced by former British ambassador to the European Union, Sir Tim Barrow, a British official told AFP.
Source: The Delfi