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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

India: Lavrov and Baerbock at G20: exchange of blows instead of scandal

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For the first time since July 2022, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is meeting with Western colleagues. Annalena Baerbock speaks plain language. But another meeting caused a stir.

This time Sergey Lavrov refrains from the affront: At the meeting of the foreign ministers of the G20 group of leading economic powers, the Russian listens to the demands of his German colleague Annalena Baerbock (Greens) for an immediate end to the war in Ukraine until the end. “Mr. Lavrov, stop this war. Stop violating our international order. Stop bombing Ukrainian cities and civilians,” she says to Lavrov’s face in the Indian capital New Delhi. He sits directly opposite her at the huge table of 20.

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At the most recent G20 meeting in July 2022 on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, Lavrov left the room immediately after his speech. Baerbock, who then spoke directly after him in the round, could not appeal to his conscience as planned.

Baerbock: Mister Lavrov, stop this war

“Here at this G20 table, 19 countries have made it clear that this war must end. That they all finally want peace,” Baerbock, 42, later told journalists. Lavrov clearly registered this. The G20 includes 19 countries and the EU.

When it is Lavrov’s (72) turn in the ministerial round, he denounces, according to the state agency TASS, that criticism of Russia comes from Western states, which have been “loading weapons” on Ukraine for years. US military operations, for example, have not caused nearly as much outrage in the past. He calls the Western sanctions against his country arbitrary.

Brief meeting of Blinken and Lavrov

News of Blinken’s brief meeting with Lavrov on the fringes of the meeting caused a stir in the afternoon. According to Russian information, Blinken asked for the contact. There was no formal meeting or even negotiations. It was the first face-to-face meeting between Blinken and Lavrov since Russia invaded Ukraine more than a year ago.

Blinken said Thursday that he told Lavrov at the meeting that Russia should resume the New Start disarmament treaty recently suspended by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. The US would continue to support Ukraine and he again urged Russia to end aggression against the country. “Participate in meaningful diplomacy that can bring about a just and lasting peace,” Blinken said.

Qin Gang sought-after interlocutor

On the fringes of the G20 Congress, Baerbock met her new Chinese colleague Qin Gang for the first time. Against the background of speculation about the possible delivery of drones by Beijing to Moscow, she made it clear that the delivery of weapons or goods that could be used for civil and military purposes “would be support for a war of aggression that violates international law”. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has the task of “standing up for world peace”.

At a meeting with Qin, Lavrov spoke of “far-reaching plans to develop our bilateral cooperation.” Both countries are a “stability factor in the system of international relations,” he says, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

China has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On the first anniversary of the Russian invasion last Friday, Beijing presented a position paper. It called for a ceasefire and negotiations. The 12-point document was met with skepticism in the West, not least because it does not provide for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

No joint communiqué because of the Ukraine war

The G20 foreign ministers could not agree on a joint final declaration – like the finance ministers in the group last week. Instead, the Presidency, India, published its own summary. In it, most states once again condemned the Russian war of aggression in the strongest possible terms and demanded an unconditional withdrawal from Ukrainian territory. Lavrov and Qin did not agree to the relevant paragraphs.

Baerbock for effort against poverty and climate change

Baerbock called on her G20 colleagues to join forces to fight poverty, the effects of climate change and the indebtedness of poor countries. The round should make it clear “that we not only see the challenges and problems of the many other countries in the world, but that we act”. This must also happen in view of the Ukraine war. “Because we can see that this brutal war of aggression in Ukraine is aggravating the world crises even after a year,” she says.

The G20 includes the European Union and the strongest economies on all continents. According to the group, it generates more than 80 percent of global gross domestic product, 75 percent of global trade and accounts for around 60 percent of the world’s population.

Source: Stern

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