‘If They Do Not Want To Talk…’: Lavrov On Stalled Ukraine Talks

Bali [Indonesia]: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday said that it is open to negotiations with the West on ways to resolve several issues including the blockade of Ukrainian grain at Black Sea ports but added that “if they do not want to talk, it is their choice.”

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gestures while speaking during his annual roundup news conference summing up his ministry's work in 2019, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. Lavrov particularly noted Washington's reluctance to extend a key nuclear arms pact. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Bali [Indonesia]: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday said that it is open to negotiations with the West on ways to resolve several issues including the blockade of Ukrainian grain at Black Sea ports but added that “if they do not want to talk, it is their choice.”


The Russia-Ukraine conflict and its impact on food security and energy dominated the closed-door gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali. 

This G20 meeting ended with no joint statement and no announcements of any agreements being reached. The forum was the first face-to-face meeting between Russia and its fiercest critics from the West including the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.


“It’s not us who’ve ceased mutual contacts. This has been done by the US… We do not run after anyone, offering to meet. If they do not want to talk, it is their choice,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by TASS at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

“We’re ready for negotiations with our Ukrainian & Turkish colleagues. 

We’ve all solutions, if we’re talking about Ukrainian grain, then Ukraine must unblock its ports, clear them of mines or ensure safe passage through minefields,” he added.


Lavrov said the US is trying to force the whole world, including Europe, to abandon cheaper energy sources and switch to more expensive ones.


“Russia is ready to fulfil all its obligations on the supply of cheap energy,” Lavrov added. 

Lavrov accused western nations of employing doublethink on Ukraine, TASS reported.


“I took the liberty of reminding our Western colleagues about what they said in the previous months and asked them to make up their mind about what they want after all,” Lavrov pointed out. 

“The West’s doublethink shows that it is ideology that comes first rather than their concern about Ukrainians, Ukraine and European security in general,” Lavrov stressed.

He also emphasised that “if the West doesn’t want talks to take place but wishes for Ukraine to defeat Russia on the battlefield – because both views have been expressed – then perhaps, there is nothing to talk about with the West.”


Lavrov said western countries at the meeting “avoided following the G20 mandate, focusing on global economic issues and seeking agreements to pave the way for solutions on sustainable development at the United Nations. Instead, immediately after taking the floor, they started to castigate Russia in a frenzied manner over the situation in Ukraine”.


Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday said G7 plan to boycott Russia at the G20 in Bali failed. She was commenting on the statement by German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock regarding the alleged non-participation of Lavrov in G20 events, Sputnik news agency reported.


Baerbock told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Bali that Lavrov’s behaviour at a meeting with G20 colleagues indicated that the Russian authorities did not show “a millimetre” of readiness for negotiations.


“From the moment the meeting of the G20 began, Lavrov was in the hall and after about two hours began to hold bilateral talks in the next room with colleagues on the same forum. Other ministers did the same, since face-to-face forums are held exactly for this — for meetings and contacts. Otherwise, everyone would connect online or send out their speeches,” Zakharova said on Telegram. 

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