Lavrov says Russia will block G20 declaration if views are ignored, dimming India’s hopes of consensus

File Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart following their talks in Moscow  (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
File Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart following their talks in Moscow (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia will oppose the final declaration at the G20 summit if Moscow’s position on Ukraine is disregarded, said foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, casting doubts on India’s aspirations to make its presidency a success with a joint communique.

Mr Lavrov is set to lead the Russian delegation in Delhi for the two-day summit betweeb 9 and 10 September in the absence of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to the students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Mr Lavrov said India will be forced to issue a non-binding communique in absence of agreement on all points from the G20 member countries.

"There will be no general declaration on behalf of all members if our position is not reflected," Mr Lavrov said.

The foreign minister said the western countries were eroding international institutions by promoting their own interests and said if the G20 meeting is not able to reach a consensus, the G20 president might consider releasing a chair summary.

"Another option is to adopt a document that focuses on specific decisions in the sphere of G20 competences, and let everyone say the rest on their own behalf," he said.

The pushback by Russia at the G20 summit in Delhi has thrown India’s hopes to conclude the economic forum with a Delhi Declaration in doubt as the host country was expecting to reach a breakthrough in reaching a consensus in the final meeting of the leaders.

The G20 under India’s president risks going down as the first summit to conclude without a joint statement since the forum was created in 1999 if consensus is not reached between members.

So far, none of the G20 ministerial or working groups meeting have been able to release a joint statement as representatives from the west on one side and Russia and China from another wrangled over language on the Ukraine conflict.

Instead, India has been releasing a chair summary amid disagreement over some points in the final statement.

Raising hopes over issuing a joint communique at the G20 summit, Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar last week said he was “very confident” India will be able to provide a joint statement due to its unique position.

"As a consultative chair, I am confident at the G20 summit, there will be shared interest for a common statement. We will do everything from our side," he told NDTV.

In March, the G20 meeting foreign ministers ended without a joint meeting as there were “divergences” on the issue of the war in Ukraine “which we could not reconcile as various parties held differing views”, Mr Jaishankar had said after concluding the meeting.

It comes as another blow to India’s presidency amid speculations that Chinese president Xi Jinping will give a miss to the summit after Mr Putin confirmed prime minister Narendra Modi that he will not travel to Delhi.

Unconfirmed government sources told Reuters that Premier Li Qiang will fill for Mr Xi over the latest map controversy between the two countries, which are already amidst a bitter border dispute from past three years.

China’s foreign minister was unable to confirm Mr Xi’s attendance most recently when asked at a regular press briefing.

It would mark the first time that Mr Xi will skip the G20 gathering, a major economic platform, since taking power.