Balinese He is an unwelcome guest, but Sergei Lavrov received a friendly welcome in Bali. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, this year’s host of the G20 summit, greeted the Russian foreign minister at the beginning of the meeting with a slap on the arm and a long handshake. The heads of state and government in the meeting room, such as the Federal Chancellor, then met the Russian less friendly.
Lavrov said in a press conference that he also spoke to Olaf Scholz in Bali. However, the Chancellor described the scene as follows: Lavrov said two sentences to him from a few meters away. “That was the conversation,” said Scholz.
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Because of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the eyes of the meeting of the 20 leading industrial and emerging countries are particularly focused on Lavrov, who is taking part in the place of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. Although the Russian foreign minister is the man with the least power at the summit, he commands the most attention.
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Even before the meeting began, Lavrov was making headlines around the world. Reports circulated in Bali that the 72-year-old Russian – one of the longest-serving foreign ministers – was hospitalized after arriving on Sunday, allegedly with heart problems.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied reports of the alleged hospitalization. This is “false news”, new Western propaganda that you already know.
Lavrov then had a video published showing him in shorts reading on a terrace with palm trees and the sea in the background. The Russian Foreign Minister wears a blue T-shirt with a crown and the words Basquiat – a memory of the US artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died in 1988. Two other US products that Lavrov wears stand out: an iPhone and an Apple Watch.
The enthusiasm for products “made in the USA” brought Lavrov a lot of ridicule on social networks. Because it doesn’t fit in at all with the otherwise harsh statements made by the Russian foreign minister to the United States.
In the video, Lavrov had surprisingly announced that he would accept the G20’s final declaration – after Moscow’s initial resistance.
The Kremlin seems to have approved Lavrov’s unexpected approval. The 72-year-old is seen in the West as a loyal follower of Putin, who doesn’t make any independent decisions without his blessing.
Scholz: Putin should have dealt with the criticism
Several summit participants made no secret of the fact that they had little desire to meet Lavrov in Bali. Scholz, for example, regretted that Putin had canceled his participation. “It would have been a good decision if Putin had gone to the G20 summit. Then he would have had to deal with all the criticism that has been formulated by many countries,” said Scholz. “That’s probably why he’s not here.”
In the round of the G20, not only did almost all western participants avoid the Russian foreign minister, he was also only allowed to speak as one of the last. Priority was given to senior heads of state and government.
On Tuesday evening, after the first day of the summit, Lavrov wanted to leave again. The family photo of the G20 will therefore only be taken on Wednesday – without Russia. Western representatives did not want a joint snapshot with a representative of Russia. Neither with Putin nor with Lavrov.
More: In the draft of the final declaration, the G20 sharply condemned the Ukraine war – negotiators resorted to two tricks for this