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Lavrov hails India’s ‘highly responsible’ stance on global agenda, blames West for no joint communique at G20

‘Rhetorical statements around Ukraine did not yield any good and were damaging’

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NEW DELHI, March 2 (PTI): Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday blamed Western countries for the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting not being able to come out with a joint communique, saying their “rhetorical statements” around Ukraine did not yield any good and were “damaging”.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the meeting, Lavrov hailed India’s “highly responsible” and “worthy of a great power” stance on key matters of global agenda.

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Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the G20 meet, the Russian minister said the PM had presented “a balanced and responsible position” of the country as president of the G20.

“He (Prime Minister Modi) was not just speaking about some isolated individual situation, because the West is trying to divide the geopolitical picture into individual episodes. In the address, Modi gave assessment of the situation across the globe in general terms,” he said.

The remarks by Lavrov come amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict and India’s diplomatic tightrope walk on the issue.

Lavrov said the declaration could not be adopted at the meeting due to “rhetorical statements” around Ukraine and their “so-called” presenting of the situation as “Russian aggression” which did not yield any good.

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The speeches by western countries and the G7 nations were getting emotional and were “damaging” the process of discussing the G20 agenda, the Russian foreign minister said.

“The final document was not adopted by the ministers because the Western countries insisted on the text that was agreed at the G20 summit last year in Bali. They were ignoring completely our argument that since then a lot has changed, a lot has happened,” Lavrov said.

He said the Russian side’s arguments such as the demand for an “unbiased investigation in terror attack” on the Nord Stream pipeline were not considered by the West.

The declaration was blocked and the outcome of the discussion will be described in the summary that the Indian presidency would speak about, Lavrov told reporters through an interpreter.

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He also said the African Union will be a full-fledged member of the G20 like the European Union.

Lavrov asserted that it is high time to reform the UN Security Council. “We have reaffirmed our position to do this by expanding the representation of the developing countries. We reaffirmed our position that there is no need to give additional seats for to the West and their allies. The West is over represented in the UN body,” he said.

Lavrov said Russia’s relationship with India can be described as a privileged strategic partnership. “This reflects the special character of the relationship starting with India’s independence up until today,” he said.

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