JAKARTA: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will this week attend a meeting in Bali with his counterparts from the Group of 20 largest economies, officials confirmed on Wednesday, as host Indonesia tries to mediate rifts in the bloc over Moscow’s participation.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s breadbaskets, has delivered shockwaves to global supply chains and also stoked an energy crisis following international sanctions slapped on Moscow — a major oil and gas producer — which has also led to rising inflation in many countries.
The G20 includes Western countries that have accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, but also nations such as China, India, and South Africa that have remained neutral. The gathering will be the first time that foreign ministers of some of the world’s top economies have met Lavrov since the beginning of the invasion in late February.
Indonesia, which this year holds the rotating G20 presidency and has been facing pressure to exclude Russia from the summit scheduled to take place in November, is expecting a full attendance during the ministerial meeting on Friday.
“All G20 foreign ministers will be present in Bali,” Teuku Faizasyah, spokesperson for the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Arab News.
Lavrov’s attendance was further confirmed by Denis Tetiushin, a spokesperson of the Russian Embassy in Jakarta, who told Arab News that the “agenda is the same for all the delegations,” including Russia’s.
Friday’s meeting comes after Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s trip last week to Kyiv and Moscow to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin — both of whom have been invited to the November summit.
The G20 foreign ministers are expected to discuss ways to strengthen global collaboration and overcome the food crisis and global rise of commodity prices.
“With the new situation in Ukraine, issues related to food security will also be widely discussed at the G20 meetings,” the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “This meeting will serve as a strategic forum to discuss global recovery efforts.”
Indonesia has also invited non-member countries to attend this week’s meeting, including Ukraine. The Ukrainian ambassador in Jakarta, Vasyl Hamianin, told Arab News that Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will join the meeting virtually and that the eastern European nation sees its participation “positively.”
He said: “The global agenda at present is closely related to what happens in Ukraine.”
In a G20 finance meeting in Washington in April, top officials from the UK, Canada, and the US walked out on Russian representatives. The reaction to Lavrov in Bali may provide an indication of how the bloc’s members will respond if Putin attends in person the summit in Bali later this year, which has not been confirmed.
On Lavrov’s attendance at the ministerial meetings, Hamianin said: “War criminals and officials representing terrorist states must not be allowed to appear at any authoritative and respected international fora.” He added that Lavrov was the minister of the state that was, “committing massive crimes against humanity in Ukraine.”