According to several states, there will be no joint final declaration at the meeting of the G-20 foreign ministers in New Delhi because of the Ukraine war. The Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Thursday: "There were divergences on the subject (...) of the Ukraine conflict, there were differences that we could not settle between the various participants." Instead, India wants to write a summary of the conference. Russia and China had refused to endorse a joint statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blamed the West. "The statement has been blocked and the outcome of the discussion will be described in the summary spoken of by the Indian Presidential Office," Lavrov told the press after Thursday's talks.
According to Russian sources, the discussion about a joint statement failed, among other things, because Russia insisted on an investigation to clarify who sabotaged the Nord Stream pipeline last year, Lavrov said. The West has bad manners and would only work with "blackmail and threats," he said.
China said it would support Russia in blocking a joint statement. Both countries were the only G-20 members to reject the phrase of a "complete and unconditional withdrawal (of Russian troops) from the territory of Ukraine" in the statement.
Secretary of State Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Russia to end the war of aggression against Ukraine. In her speech, Baerbock addressed the Russian foreign minister directly. "Mr. Lavrov, end this war," she said.
At the G-20 meeting in July 2022 on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, Lavrov left the room immediately after his speech and avoided criticism. This time he stayed seated.
Lavrov and Blinken met for a brief bilateral talk on the fringes of the meeting. Blinken spoke to his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov for about ten minutes in New Delhi on Thursday, US officials said. It was the first high-level meeting between the US and Russia in months.
A senior US official said Blinken made three points clear: the US would support Russia-invaded Ukraine for as long as it takes to end the war; Russia should reverse the decision to suspend its participation in the New Start nuclear arms control treaty; Moscow should also release US citizen Paul Whelan. The government representative did not want to say what Lavrov answered.
India, which has not condemned Russia's war in Ukraine, wanted to use its G-20 presidency to focus on issues such as poverty reduction and climate finance. But the Russian offensive in Ukraine and its effects now determined the agenda.
At a meeting in India last week, the G-20 finance ministers were also unable to agree on a joint final declaration due to differences of opinion over the Ukraine war.
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