KOMPAS.com - The war in Ukraine and its impact on energy and food supplies dominated G-20 talks Friday in Bali.
The G-20 host country called on ministers to “find a way forward” in discussing the war and its impact on rising food and energy prices.
“It is our responsibility to end the war sooner rather than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not at the battlefield,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at the opening of the meeting, invoking the UN charter to urge multilateralism and trust.
Foreign ministers shared concerns about getting grain shipments out of Ukraine and avoiding devastating food shortages in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere. But talks were marked by sharp tension: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sat at the same table but did not speak directly.
Lavrov accused Western ministers of straying “almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine.”
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“You know, it was not us who abandoned all contacts,” Lavrov told reporters after the first session. “It was the United States … and we are not running after anybody suggesting meetings. If they don’t want to talk, it’s their choice.”
Lavrov walked out of the meetings twice Friday - first, as German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock addressed a session on strengthening multilateralism, and second just before Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, addressed the session on food and energy security via video link.
At a plenary session, Blinken urged Moscow to release Ukrainian grain to the world, according to a Western official.
“He addressed Russia directly, saying, ‘To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Its grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? You should let the grain out,’” the official said.