Western leaders snub G20 photo op with Russian Sergei Lavrov – POLITICO
The absence of a picture is worth a thousand words.
The foreign ministers of the G20 countries, who are meeting this week on the Indonesian island of Bali, did not take the usual group photo, after several Western leaders reportedly refused to be photographed with Russian Sergei Lavrov about his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to a report by the Japanese news agency Kyodo, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched the boycott of the traditional family photo, and was joined by his G7 colleagues. Western diplomats also refused to go to a dinner Thursday night because Lavrov was present, Kyodo reported. Retno Marsudi, Indonesian Foreign Minister, said the host country understood and respected the decision, Reuters reported.
There may still be time for a family photo on Friday, as Lavrov plans to leave the summit early.
The Russian foreign minister « is still in bilateral talks, then he will talk to the press and leave, » Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told German news agency DPA. Lavrov will not attend afternoon meetings or an official dinner on Friday evening.
In an interview with Russian state broadcaster Russia 24, which aired on Friday, Lavrov appeared to confirm the Western snub.
« In terms of meeting me, the statement that they won’t be photographed with me – I’ve never asked anyone to be photographed, » he said. « Yesterday there was a reception that the Indonesians had, it was kind of an introductory reception with a concert, and they [Western leaders] did not participate.
Western leaders, including Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, avoided Lavrov at the Bali summit, refusing to meet him, and US, Canadian and European delegations pulled out when Russian officials were about to talk, according to Kyodo.
But Lavrov held bilateral meetings with Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu from Turkey and Wang Yi from China.
In a series of tweet On Friday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the meeting in Indonesia was taking place in a « particularly grave context following Russia’s appalling war against Ukraine ». He added: « In the face of aggression, no one can be neutral. »