Lavrov to seek bilateral meetings at G20 summit

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Lavrov to seek bilateral meetings at G20 summit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov intends to meet a number of other foreign ministers for bilateral talks during the upcoming G20 meeting in Bali, he told Russian news agency TASS on Wednesday during a visit in Vietnam.

While not specifying which countries are in line for bilateral talks, he told TASS that "there will be a series of meetings."

The G20 foreign ministers' meeting begins on Thursday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already declined a meeting with Lavrov. Numerous politicians have criticized Lavrov's participation in the summit on account of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the ministers would not "simply let Russia have the stage" at the G20 meeting.

"We all have an interest in making sure that international law is abided by and respected," she said before her departure for Bali. People on several continents had felt the effects of Russia's war in Ukraine, she said.

Speaking in Vietnam, Lavrov said he did not know of any attempts to block his participation. "If such attempts were made, the Indonesian government did not react to them," he said.

Lavrov's participation in the summit is also a means of testing the waters regarding potential participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin himself at the G20 summit later this year, which will also take place in Bali.

Several G7 countries have threatened to withdraw from the summit if Putin is personally present. It is possible that he will participate via videolink.

Lavrov is currently on a tour of Asia to shore up support amid the diplomatic isolation due to the war in Ukraine.

Lavrov called Vietnam a "key partner" in South-east Asia.

At a press conference following talks with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son on Wednesday, Lavrov said that "We appreciate Vietnam's objective and balanced position, its refusal to join the illegal sanctions [against Russia] and readiness to boost bilateral cooperation with Russia, as well as cooperation on the international stage," according to TASS.

His comments that "the relationship between our countries is founded in history and our shared fight for justice," were published across Vietnamese media. Russia and Vietnam have developed an extensive strategic partnership over the last 10 years, although Vietnam also shares close relations with its former enemy, the US.

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