The talks were overshadowed by the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in the G20 meeting in Bali. At the beginning there were calls to end the war in Ukraine. Is there an uproar?

At the start of the eagerly awaited meeting of the foreign ministers of the G20 countries, hostess Retno Marsudi urgently called for an end to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

“Our responsibility is to end the war as soon as possible. And to build bridges and not walls,” said the Indonesian Foreign Minister. The world’s largest island state currently chairs the confederation of states.

Reactions to Lavrov’s arrival

Shortly before, Marsudi had greeted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov politely but cautiously on his arrival at the luxury hotel Mulia in the seaside resort of Nusa Dua. The handshake, for example, with Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and her counterpart from the USA, Anthony Blinken, was much more cordial. It is eagerly awaited how Western participants in particular will react to Lavrov’s requests to speak. The Russian sat in the hall between representatives from Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

During the greeting, two German journalists called Lavrov questions. ZDF correspondent Andreas Kynast asked Lavrov: “When do you stop the war?” (German: «When will you end the war?»). Kynast said he was then taken out of the reception hall by Indonesian security officials. There were initially no further restrictions for him. A second German journalist called out to Lavrov: “Why don’t you stop the war?” (German: «Why don’t you end the war?»).

Dialogue or Escalation?

Indonesia, which currently holds the G20 presidency, offered to mediate between the conflicting parties after President Joko Widodo made a trip to Moscow and Kyiv at the end of June. All eyes are now on whether there will be dialogue or further escalation at the Bali meeting. Lavrov’s presence is also seen as a test for Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s possible participation in the upcoming G20 summit in mid-November, which is also taking place in Bali. Several states have questioned their attendance should he appear in person.

The group of states must use this opportunity to build trust and “give peace a chance,” explained Marsudi in her opening speech. She urgently called for multilateralism, i.e. for cooperation between states in solving current political and social problems. “Global challenges require global solutions,” she explained.

In addition to a discussion on strengthening multilateral international conflict resolution, the meetings will also deal with global food and energy security. However, the war is expected to dominate much of the deliberations.

Shortly after her arrival in Bali on Thursday evening, Baerbock said that in her speech in Lavrov’s presence, she would “find very clear words that we do not accept this breach of international law”. The usual family photo and an official final statement will probably not be given because of Lavrov’s presence in the evening. However, the Indonesian G20 Presidency intends to issue a statement at the end of the deliberations.