France expects a “tough confrontation” with Russia at the meeting of G20 foreign ministers on Thursday and Friday in Indonesia in good time against the background of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
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Given the presence of the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov in Bali, “we expect a rather tough confrontation,” a French diplomatic source said on Thursday.
“Russia has decided to participate because it puts itself in a situation where it violates a number of the G20’s basic principles, namely cooperation, dialogue and resolving disputes through peaceful methods rather than force,” added the source added.
During this meeting, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna will “make sure” with her European G7 and European counterparts “that there is no ‘business as usual’ in the discussion and in the ‘treatment of Russia in this club’.
The G20, a club made up of the 20 largest economies in the world, has in its ranks Western states that have imposed sanctions on Moscow – such as the European Union or the USA – but also other reservations such as China, India or South Africa.
Faced with these “questions” and these “nuanced positions”, the challenge for France and its European partners is to “react to the untruths and the Russian narrative that seeks to shift the cause of the unrest not to the Russian war of aggression, but from… the international response, particularly the European and G7, to this aggression,” the French source adds.
The G20 meeting will be an opportunity to “clarify clearly the role of international sanctions, which are designed to make the cost of the war on Russia unbearable and which are a “response to the aggression that is, in fact, the cause of accelerating current disruptions , particularly in relation to the food crisis.
Due to the presence of Russia, the meeting on the Indonesian island should not result in a final joint statement, which echoes comments made by an American official in Washington, according to the same source.
In this regard, according to the French source, a bilateral interview between Catherine Colonna and Sergey Lavrov, as well as their joint presence in a possible family photo, is not foreseen.
The meeting serves as a stepping stone ahead of the G20 summit of leaders scheduled for November in Indonesia, whose authorities have invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend as a member of the club.
If its presence is debated, France does not intend to practice the “empty chair policy” or “block all international cooperation” – this “would be counterproductive and ineffective against our interests”.