Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: No unity for G-20 diplomats

Deeply divided top diplomats from the world’s richest and largest developing nations failed to find common ground Friday over Russia’s war in Ukraine and how to deal with its global impacts, leaving prospects for future cooperation in the forum uncertain. At talks that were were knocked off balance by two unrelated and unexpected political developments, including the shocking assassination of a former Japanese prime minister, far from the Indonesian resort of Bali where they were meeting. The group of 20 foreign ministers heard an emotional plea for unity and an end to the war from their Indonesian host. Yet, consensus remained elusive amid deepening East-West splits driven by China and Russia on one side and the United States and Europe on the other. There was no group photo taken nor a final statement issued as has been done in previous years, and acrimony appeared pervasive, especially between Russia and Western participants. (https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2022/jul/09/no-ukraine-unity-for-g-20-diplomats/) Although they were present in the same room at the same time for the first time since the Ukraine war began, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointedly ignored each other. Lavrov walked out of the proceedings at least twice: once when his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock spoke at the opening session and again just before Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was to speak by video at the second session, according to a Western diplomat present. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi had urged the group — which included Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Blinken and several European counterparts — to overcome mistrust for the sake of a planet confronting multiple challenges from the coronavirus to climate change as well as Ukraine. But after the meeting was over, Marsudi could not point to any agreements reached by all participants, although she said there had been broad concern about food and energy disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine. She added that only “some countries expressed condemnation of the act of invasion.”

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