Bali. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said all her counterparts from G20 countries were present in person during the two-day meeting in Bali, although Russia’s Sergei Lavrov reportedly walk out of the room before the conclusion on Friday.
“It’s an achievement to be able to gather all key players in the same room and have talks,” Retno was quoted by Antara news agency as saying.
Indonesia holds the current presidency of the G20 but the upcoming summit is overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Joko Widodo visited Moscow to deliver the invitation to Vladimir Putin late last month, only a day after he met with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in a historic visit to Kyiv.
“We had very open discussions and we knew since the beginning that we all have different positions but having a talk is the most important thing,” Retno said.
Retno didn’t deny that Lavrov had left the room before the meeting ended, but she said several other ministers also walked in and out because they took the occasion to have bilateral talks with each other.
Indonesian Ambassador to the UN Dian Triansyah Djani said the walkout is a normal thing in global diplomacy and quickly added that there was no dispute about Indonesia’s G20 leadership.
Indonesia as a host put the global energy and food crises on the main agenda of the foreign ministers’ meeting.
Lavrov is not the only foreign minister to leave early. UK’s Liz Truss cut short her trip to Bali and flew back home on Thursday upon reports of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation as Conservative Party leader.
“We need calmness and unity now and to keep governing while a new leader is found,” she wrote on Twitter.
Ministers from G7 countries were also reported to have skipped the gala dinner in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Retno said on Thursday she had been told in advance about their absence and that she could understand their position.
“Because we all must feel comfortable. They just being here now is welcomed with my appreciation. It took a great decision for them just to be here and to show commitment towards the G20,” Retno said.
“We have had consultation and communication among all member countries since the beginning and we told them we wanted to create a comfortable atmosphere for all. Indonesia as the host country pays respect to each country’s position.”