Indonesia urges G20 to help end war in Ukraine as Lavrov looks at Russia

  • Russian Foreign Minister attends G20 meeting in Bali
  • Ukraine’s Foreign Minister speaks at the meeting almost
  • Indonesia warns food prices will hit low-income countries even more
  • British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has made a short trip to Bali

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Indonesia urged the Group of Twenty (G20) on Friday to help end the war in Ukraine, as the group’s foreign ministers gathered for a summit that put some of the fiercest critics of Russia’s invasion in the same room. As the most senior diplomat in Moscow.

The war and its impact on the global economy have dominated preparations for a rally on the Indonesian island of Bali, with senior officials from Western countries and Japan stressing that it will not be “business as usual” at the forum.

Cries of “when will you stop the war” and “why not stop the war” were heard as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shook hands with his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, at the start of the meeting.

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Emphasizing the tensions in the crowd, Retno said earlier that G7 counterparts had told her they were unable to join Thursday’s welcome dinner where Lavrov was present.

“It is our responsibility to end the war sooner rather than later and to settle our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield,” she said Friday at the opening of the talks.

Citing Indonesia’s religious diversity as an example of how disparate beliefs can coexist harmoniously, Retno urged the G20 to “find a way forward” to meet the challenges spreading across the world. She said the repercussions of the war, including higher energy and food prices, would hit low-income countries even more.

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A senior Indonesian foreign ministry official told Reuters that a statement on Friday’s meeting was not expected.

“With Russia present and involved, I certainly doubt there will be consensus on Ukraine, for example,” a senior US State Department official said ahead of the summit.

The Russian invasion overshadowed Indonesia’s presidency of the G20’s largest economy this year, with boycotts from some members and a withdrawal in April at a meeting of finance ministers in Washington.

It is important for the host to “create a comfortable atmosphere for everyone,” Retno said late Thursday, noting that it was the first time since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 that all the major players had been seated in the same room.

Lavrov sat down between representatives of Saudi Arabia and Mexico at Friday’s meeting.

China warns of dangers of ‘new cold war’

A senior US State Department official said Thursday it was important to prevent “disruptions or interruptions” in the G20 agenda, while ensuring that nothing happened that could legitimize Russia’s “brutal treatment” of Ukraine. Read more

After discussions on the Ukraine issue with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing opposes any action that would escalate the confrontation between the blocs and create a “new cold war”.

The Russian invasion, which it calls a “special military operation,” has caused major disruption to the global economy, with the blockade of Ukrainian grain and sanctions on Russian oil and gas leading to a food crisis and rising global inflation.

Friday’s agenda includes a closed-door meeting with top diplomats from G20 nations including China, India, the United States, Brazil, Canada, Japan and South Africa, as well as bilateral talks on the sidelines. The foreign minister of Ukraine is expected to address the meeting virtually.

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Lavrov met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Bali on Thursday, during which he praised Beijing but criticized the “openly aggressive” West.

For the first time in three years, the foreign ministers of China and Australia will hold talks on the sidelines of the meeting on Friday, a sign of thaw in relations strained by allegations of foreign interference and retaliatory trade sanctions. Read more

Absent from Friday’s meeting was British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who was represented by Tim Barrow, the secretary’s second permanent undersecretary at the Foreign Office. Media reports said Truss cut short her Bali trip shortly after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned.

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Additional reporting by Ryan Wu in Beijing, Kirsty Needham in Sydney and Yudi Kahia Bodeman in Nusa Dua. Written by Kate Lamb. Editing by Martin Petty, Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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