G20 Summit 2023: As the high-profile G2o Summit concluded on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the multilateral event a milestone and complimented Indian presidency's active role in consolidating countries from the Global South.
"This Summit has been a milestone from the point of view of giving a clear guiding star for us to follow. Another thing that I would like to mention is the active role of the Indian presidency that has genuinely consolidated the G20 Members probably for the first time in its history," he said during a press briefing after the summit.
Lavrov noted that the BRICS member-countries - Brazil, India, China and South Africa have been particularly active in promoting the interests of the Global South and consolidating other countries at the multilateral platform.
"Thanks to these consolidated positions taken by the Global South countries to uphold and protect their legitimate interests have caused the West to be unable to Ukrainise the agenda to the detriment of the discussion of the tasks facing developing countries," he added in a strong attack on Western countries, who have lobbied for Russia to be labelled as an aggressor of the Ukraine conflict.
Regarding the New Delhi G20 Leaders' Declaration, Lavrov said that a 'healthy solution' was found in terms of a clear and equitable balance of interest.
"In our turn, we will continue strengthening these positive trends including during Brazil's presidency next year and in 2025 during South Africa's presidency. While closing today's session, PM Modi said that he would convene another G20 Summit via video conferencing in late November. It will be another opportunity for us to review the implementation of the agreements that we have reached today," he further said.
A possible ceasefire with Ukraine?
Replying to a query by news agency ANI on a possible ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, Lavrov said that "everyone wants peace" but right now Ukraine officials are threatening to destroy Russians.
"About 18 months ago we agreed to sign a treaty about settling this conflict. We even initialled these documents. After that, the Anglo-Saxons ordered Zelenskyy not to sign it because they thought they would be able to reap some confessions from us...President Putin has recently said that we do not mind negotiations however any such negotiations need to consider the realities on the ground and take into account the reasons that have been accumulating for decades upon decades due to NATO's aggressive policy," he said.
No intelligent discussions from Western countries: Russia
Additionally, Lavrov stated that Western countries are unable to maintain any "intelligent discussion" on Ukraine and all it can do is is demand that Russia stop its aggression and restore Ukraine's territorial integrity, even though the UN charter mentions the 'principle of equality'.
"The Kyiv regime destroyed the territorial integrity of its country with its own hand...I believe that some of our Western colleagues understand it too but you know very well that they are placing their bets on Russia's strategic defeat," he said.
The Russian Foreign Minister also maintained that the West will not be able to remain in hegemony for much longer as new centres of power are emerging elsewhere in the world. He also criticised the West for not taking any action on climate change despite promising $100 billion to prepare economists.
"The declaration also mentions the tasks that need to be done in accordance with the long-standing promises in order to ensure a balance of interest in the global economy," Lavrov added.
Russia-Ukraine war's impact on G20
World leaders were polarised on the Russia-Ukraine war, as Western countries wanted action on Russia, while Moscow threatened to block the declaration if it did not reflect its interests. Thus, India was under pressure to form a consensus for the joint final communique.
However, India scored a major diplomatic win by achieving 100% consensus on the New Delhi G20 Leaders' Declaration on Saturday through hectic negotiations with countries like Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia. The declaration avoided a direct mention of the Russian invasion of Ukraine but mentioned a general call for all states to refrain from using force to threatening another country's integrity and sovereignty.
"In line with the UN Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. We will unite in our endeavour to address the adverse impact of the war on the global economy and welcome all relevant and constructive initiatives that support a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine," read the declaration.
"Obviously, because of the ongoing conflict and strong views about it, considerable time was spent especially in the last few days in regard to geopolitical issues which really centered around the war in Ukraine. The point to be recognised is that a common ground was reached," said External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar during a press meet.
According to G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant, it was the most complex part of the entire summit where the leaders initially did not agree on the Russia-Ukraine war. He said it took over 200 hours of non-stop negotiations to convince the leaders. Besides, Kant also claimed that the officials had held over 300 bilateral meetings and 15 drafts.
Following the conclusion of the summit, Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that he has strongly pressed for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. " We underscored our position that Russia's nuclear threat let alone its use of nuclear weapons is absolutely unacceptable. I also highlighted the importance of assistance from the global community to vulnerable populations under conflict," he said in a presser.
(with agency inputs)