Around a year after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the foreign ministers of the G20 group of leading economic powers are meeting in India for consultations. In addition to the war, the global food and energy crisis as well as development cooperation and the fight against terrorism are on the agenda in New Delhi today.

“We must devote all our energy to these major global challenges,” said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) before leaving Berlin on Wednesday. “This also means that we oppose Russia’s cynical game, which is trying to drive a wedge into the international community.” Baerbock landed in the Indian capital on Thursday morning.

What will Lavrov do?

The appearance of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is eagerly awaited. Last July, he caused a scandal at the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali when he left the room immediately after his speech and stopped listening to his critics’ comments. The G20 meeting in India is considered the first major conference since Bali where he will meet with Western colleagues.

In the morning (local time), the first working session will discuss strengthening multilateralism, food and energy security and development cooperation. In the afternoon, counterterrorism, humanitarian aid and disaster relief are among the topics on the agenda. There will also be a meeting between the foreign ministers and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Baerbock also wanted to meet with the new Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on the fringes of the consultations. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was also expected to attend the G20 deliberations.

Baerbock said she wanted to present Germany’s priorities at the G20 meeting: “We are working on solutions to the debt crisis, because far too many countries are at risk of collapsing under enormous debt burdens.” It would also be about the global fight against hunger. “And we are committed to a new international financial architecture because climate change is making natural disasters worse and more expensive.”

Global South in focus

The G20 includes the European Union and the strongest economies on all continents. According to the group, it generates more than 80 percent of global gross domestic product, 75 percent of global trade and accounts for around 60 percent of the world’s population.

In relation to the agenda for the consultations, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in advance that concerns from the Global South were also important and would be discussed. One topic could overshadow many other concerns: the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which is now a year old. Host India takes a neutral stance on the war and maintains good relations with western countries and with Russia.

However, the recent G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Bengaluru, India, at which no joint final declaration was reached, showed that the world community is anything but of the same opinion on Ukraine. Besides Russia, China also did not want to agree to a condemnation of the Russian war of aggression. It remained unclear until the very end whether the G20 foreign ministers would agree on a communiqué.

No rapprochement in the Ukraine war

The Chinese position paper for an end to the war started by Russia in Ukraine, which was received with great skepticism in the West, is likely to play a role in the G20 deliberations. Moscow welcomed the paper, but according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, currently sees no prerequisite for a peaceful solution.

In the UN General Assembly, 141 of the 193 member states voted in favor of a resolution marking the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It contains the demand for peace and the withdrawal of Moscow. India and China, among others, abstained, while Brazil, Turkey and Saudi Arabia voted in favour.