G20 summit: Indonesia calls for end to Ukraine war
Indonesia urged the G20 on Friday to help end the war in Ukraine, as foreign ministers from the group met for a summit that has put some of the staunchest critics of Russia’s invasion in the same room as Moscow’s top diplomat.
Invoking Indonesia’s religious diversity as an example of how divergent beliefs can co-exist harmoniously, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, urged the G20 to “find a way forward” to address the challenges rippling across the globe.
Retno said the repercussions of the war, including rising energy and food prices, would hit low-income countries the hardest.
The build-up to the gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali has been dominated by the war and its impact on the global economy, with top officials from Western countries and Japan stressing it would not be “business as usual” at the forum.
Shouts of “When will you stop the war” and “Why don’t you stop the war” were heard as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shook hands with Retno at the start of the meeting.
Underlining tensions in the buildup, Retno said earlier G7 counterparts had informed her they could not join Thursday’s welcome dinner where Lavrov was present.
“It is our responsibility to end the war sooner than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not at the battlefield,” Retno said on Friday at the opening of talks.
A senior official for the Indonesian foreign ministry told Reuters no communique was expected from Friday’s meeting.
“With Russia’s presence and participation, certainly I doubt there would be consensus on Ukraine, for example,” a senior U.S. State Department official said ahead of the summit.
Russia’s invasion has cast a cloud over Indonesia’s presidency of the Group of 20 largest economies this year, with speculation of boycotts from some members and a walkout in April at a finance ministers’ meeting in Washington.
A senior U.S. State Department official said on Thursday it was important to prevent “disruptions or interruptions” to the G20 agenda while ensuring nothing took place that could legitimise Russia’s “brutalising” of Ukraine.
After discussions on the issue of Ukraine with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing opposed any act of hyping up bloc confrontation and creating a “new Cold War”.
Friday’s agenda includes a closed meeting with top diplomats of G20 countries including China, India, the United States, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and South Africa, as well as bilateral talks on the sidelines.
Ukraine’s foreign minister is expected to address the meeting virtually.
For the first time in three years, the Chinese and Australian foreign ministers will hold talks on the sidelines of the meeting on Friday, signalling a thaw in relations that has soured over claims of foreign interference and retaliatory trade sanctions.
Absent from Friday’s meeting was British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who was represented by Tim Barrow, the second permanent under-secretary at the foreign office.
Truss had cut her Bali trip short after the resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, media reports said.