G20 has lost relevance entrapped in Ukraine debate: Russia

New Delhi, Mar 3 (EFE).- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Friday said the G20 economic forum had lost its purpose as it got entrapped in a debate over Ukraine and pressure from the United States to corner Russia.

Lavrov said nobody at the previous G20 meetings would care about anything except finance and macroeconomic policies.

He spoke at the Raisina Dialogue, an annual geopolitical conference hosted by the Indian foreign ministry and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) think tank involving global policymakers, academics, and media representatives.

The top Russian diplomat lashed out at the US and its western allies a day after the foreign ministers from the G20 leading economies ended without a joint declaration due to widening differences of opinion on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Lavrov noted that the entire G20 meeting in the Indian capital had been about what to do with Ukraine and the final declaration.

He said no questions were raised about “what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan,” referring to the US invasions of the two countries.

“They do not remember when Serbia was bombed. Joe Biden (US President) being a senator at that time was bragging that I promoted this approach. When Iraq was ruined as a state, few years later Tony Blair said it was a mistake,” he said, wondering if the group had ever reflected on these situations.

Part of the agenda of the G20, especially in the meeting of finance ministers over the weekend in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, was to address the economic impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Lavrov linked it to Western sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of the conflict.

“The suffering of others is not at all related to what we are doing in Ukraine to defend ourselves, these sufferings are related to the sanctions (…) that the West is promoting,” he said.

A day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern that China might supply arms to Russia, Lavrov said the relations with Beijing “have never been better.”

The US-China rift featured prominently during the G20 foreign ministers meeting on Thursday.

On Friday, the foreign chiefs of the Quad, an alliance of Japan, the United States, Australia, and India, met to discuss the situation across the Indo-Pacific region.

The Quad foreign ministers reviewed the regional situation at the meeting attended by Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Blinken, Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Australia’s Penny Wong.

“Our meeting today reaffirms the Quad’s steadfast commitment to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and resilient,” a joint statement said without naming China.

“We strongly support the principles of freedom, rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force and freedom of navigation and overflight.”

Lavrov condemned any attempt to militarize the Quad alliance and club it with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to isolate Moscow and Beijing. EFE


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