NEW DELHI, March 2. /TASS/. Some Western delegations turned the G20 agenda into a farce, trying to blame Moscow for their own economic failures, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.
In New Delhi, he held talks with counterparts from Brazil, India, China and Turkey and had a quick word with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the latter’s request when their paths crossed.
Due to disagreements between the Western countries, on the one hand, and Russia and China, on the other, no final statement at the ministerial meeting was adopted, but all participants agreed to make the African Union a full-fledged member of the Group of Twenty on a par with the EU.
TASS has summarized Lavrov’s key statements during the trip.
No final declaration
It was not possible to agree on a declaration, because the representatives of Western countries, just as it happened at last year's meeting in Bali, tried to bring the Ukrainian issue to the fore: "The West has sacrificed to its ambitions in Ukrainian affairs all areas of work that should constitute the core of the G20's activities."
The Western representatives ignored confessions by European leaders that "none of them were going to comply with the Minsk agreements."
They also refused to include in the declaration Russia and China’s call for an impartial and honest investigation into the Nord Stream explosions. "We're going to push for this investigation, we will not let them brush it under the carpet," Lavrov said.
On "barriers to sanctions" and "Western farce"
"I would like to apologize to the Indian chairmanship and our colleagues from the countries of the Global South for the improper behavior of some Western delegations that turned the work on the G20 agenda into a farce in an attempt to shift the blame for their economic failures primarily to Russia."
The West is to blame for hindering Russian agricultural exports "no matter how hard the representatives of the EU, who are in the habit of telling lies, may be trying to persuade everyone to think otherwise." Also, "the West shamelessly buries" the initiative to donate Russian fertilizers to African countries.
By virtue of "neocolonial habits and ambitions" the West is out to subordinate the world economy to its interests, provoking "degradation of international economic relations and their transformation into weapons, including those in the energy sphere." "There is a need to set a barrier against illegitimate sanctions and any forms of violations of freedom of international trade."
Russia is in favor of the "elimination of the Western monopoly" in international organizations and of increasing the role of developing countries in the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the IMF. It is keen to expand trade in national currencies and form independent payment systems within the framework of the BRICS, the EAEU and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Moscow expects that the forthcoming G20 summit in New Delhi in September will offer an opportunity "to at least partly neutralize the risks for economic stability created by the egoistic policy of the West."
On West’s isolation
Only "Western partners" have been talking about Russia's isolation: "We do not feel isolated at all. The way I see it, the West is isolating itself, and this awareness will dawn upon it soon. In the near future we expect to make a trip to a number of countries in Latin America," Lavrov said.
The Western countries demand that the developing countries condemn Moscow and in doing so they use a "blow-below-the-belt" tactic. When asked what they may promise in return, the answer is: "We will not punish you."
The West’s attempts to threaten China raise "doubts" whether "those who utter these threats" are in their right mind. "In principle, it is wrong to threaten anyone, but when China is threatened in the modern conditions, I cannot get my head around this."
Moscow and Beijing have "far-reaching plans" and a "busy foreign policy agenda," given their role as a "stabilizing factor in the system of international relations". (Before the meeting in New Delhi, Lavrov met personally with the newly-appointed Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang for the first time - TASS).
On negotiations with Ukraine
Russia is ready for talks on Ukraine mediated by India, which displays responsibility and takes a position "worthy of a great power" on key issues. Moscow has never rejected dialogue initiatives, "provided they are serious."
"We haven't seen any serious proposals since last March," Lavrov stressed.
Russia will continue to "press for justice for the Ukrainian people" and "defend the interests of Russians who live in Ukraine."
"And, of course, it will fully ensure the interests of those residents of the Ukrainian republics and regions who expressed their will in the referendum regarding accession to Russia."
About meetings on sidelines
Moscow has no illusions that it will be able to persuade the Western countries to change their mind in the foreseeable future: "We are not actually trying to knock on that door."
This does not mean, though, that relations have died down altogether: "They decided not to communicate with us, this is their choice, although when our paths cross in the corridors and on the sidelines of events like the one today, not everyone manages to kind of turn away and run past." (In New Delhi Lavrov had a quick word with Blinken, who, according to Reuters, called for cancelling the suspension of New START and vowed the US was ready "to support Ukraine's defense as long as it takes." - TASS note.