By Antonio Hermosín
Nusa Dua, Indonesia, Nov 15 (EFE).- Most G20 nations stepped up the pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine during the first day of the leaders’ summit taking place in Indonesia Tuesday but other thorny issues among the world’s leading economies were broached with greater cordiality than in previous encounters.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin decided against traveling to the summit in Bali, presumably in the knowledge that he would appear isolated and come under a barrage of criticism.
His long-serving foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made the trip in his stead.
The criticism rolled in as expected, with the harshest words coming from the likes of the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Japan, whose leaders used their addresses at the summit to accuse Moscow of weaponizing food and energy and attempting to destabilize the global economy.
“It is notable that Putin didn’t feel able to join us here. Maybe if he had, we could get on with sorting things out,” the UK’s prime minister Rishi Sunak said.
The majority of G20 members are poised to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its global economic and humanitarian impact in a joint declaration due to be approved on Wednesday.
Sandwiched between the Brazilian and Mexican foreign ministers, Lavrov remained in his seat and listened to the addresses of his international counterparts at the high-level summit on Tuesday, unlike when he stormed out as Western levied criticism at Moscow during the meeting of G20 foreign ministers in the same venue back in July.
Notably, Lavrov also stayed in his place during the videolink address by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who said his country would “not allow Russia to wait it out, build up its forces, and then start a new series of terror and global destabilization.”
Lavrov, in turn, accused the West of leading a “hybrid war against Russia” and blamed the world’s economic woes on failed neoliberal politics. He also accused Kyiv of being unrealistic with its list of conditions for peace talks.
SOFTENING THE EDGES
It is within this context of tensions and fallouts between G20 members that Indonesia, as the Group’s host and holder of the rotational presidency, tried to pave the way for cordiality if not concord.
The hosts asked delegates to refrain from gestures such as walking out of session at the summit, Michael Vatikiotis, an analyst at the Centre for Humanitarian dialogue, told Efe.
He added that the atmosphere at the G20 leaders summit marked a noticeable improvement compared to other international and diplomatic meetings this year, and that this had been achieved thanks to the work by the Indonesians and the tone-setting encounter between the US’ Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping.
Despite this, summit attendees have yet to pose together for the traditional family photograph, although diplomatic sources at the summit have not confirmed whether or not one will be taken.EFE