The foreign ministers of the Group of 20 (G20) countries are attending a joint summit on Friday on the Indonesian island of Bali, amid tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in attendance despite objections from Western and Japanese leaders. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi did not attend the reception in protest of Lavrov’s presence.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry told DPA that Lavrov would leave the meeting early after holding bilateral talks and addressing the press.
What the G20 is saying about Ukraine
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi urged for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine.
“It is our responsibility to end the war sooner than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not at the battlefield,” Marsudi said at the opening of talks.
Marsudi added that it was important for Indonesia as the host to “create an atmosphere that’s comfortable for everybody.”
As Lavrov shook hands with Marsudi before the meeting began, journalists asked Lavrov: “When will you stop the war?” and “Why don’t you stop the war?”
Several Western ministers, including German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have ruled out meeting the Kremlin’s top diplomat. They boycotted a dinner held on Thursday evening due to Lavrov’s presence.
Australia seeks to mend relations with China
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong is set to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the meeting in a bid to mend relations.
“We all know we have our differences. There are challenges in the relationship. We believe engagement is necessary to stabilise the relationship,” Wong told reporters.
China is Australia’s largest trading partner, but relations have deteriorated in recent years after Canberra called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and imposed a 5G network ban on Chinese firm Huawei. In response, Beijing imposed tariffs on Australian products including coal, seafood and wine.
“We don’t believe those blockages are in our interests,” she said, referring to Beijing’s sanctions on Australian products. “We would say to China, they are not in China’s interests.”
sdi/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)