G20 diplomacies meet in Brazil, more disunited than ever

This Wednesday and Thursday, the city of Rio de Janeiro hosts the first meeting of foreign ministers of the world's main economies.

Anthony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov will be brought together at the same table for the first time in a year.

The summit takes place the day after controversial statements by the Brazilian president comparing the conflict in Gaza to the Holocaust.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and, in the foreground, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, take their seats at the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 21, 2024. REUTERS - RICARDO MORAES

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It was with a criticism of the United Nations Security Council that the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs opened the G20 in Rio, reports our correspondent on site,

Sarah Cozzolino


Before the assembly, Mauricio Vieira denounced the “ 

unacceptable paralysis

 ” of the organization in the face of ongoing conflicts in


and the


Strip .

Multilateral institutions are not sufficiently equipped to deal with current challenges, as demonstrated by the unacceptable paralysis of the Security Council over ongoing conflicts.

This inaction directly involves the loss of human lives

,” lamented the minister.

 Brazil does not accept a world that resolves disputes with the use of military force 

,” he continued.

This Tuesday, Washington vetoed the draft resolution at the UN for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

For their part, the United States, Israel's primary supporter, criticized

the controversial remarks of Brazilian President

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva comparing the war in Gaza to the Holocaust.

During a meeting with Lula on Wednesday morning in Brasilia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “

clearly expressed our disagreement with these comments

,” said a State Department official on condition of anonymity.

Tension between Brazil and Israel, which declared Lula "persona non grata", has continued to rise since Lula's statement on Sunday.

We don't necessarily think that going into rhetorical escalation helps us move towards peace today

,” confided a French diplomatic source.

The storm provoked by the Brazilian head of state largely overshadows the G20 meeting, which is nevertheless according to him “

the forum most likely to have a positive influence on the international agenda


Climate change, “existential threat”

This G20 marks the reunion between Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov, just two years after the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

This Wednesday, American President Joe Biden lashed out at Vladimir Putin: “

The existential threat is

climate change


There is that crazy bastard Putin, and others, and we always have to worry about nuclear war, but the existential threat to humanity is climate change

,” said the Democrat. in the campaign, during a brief speech attended by a small group of journalists.

In these comments reported and translated by AFP, he described his Russian counterpart as “SOB”, an English acronym for 

son of a bitch


An insult generally translated into French as “son of a bitch”, but used commonly and sometimes less crudely in the English-speaking world, as


recalled in a semantic decryption

 in January 2022, when the 81-year-old president had already used this prose addressed to a Fox News journalist.

In any case, the three letters should not bring appeasement to Rio.

Despite pressure from Western countries to condemn the Russian invasion, the group's previous summit, in September in New Delhi, produced a vague final communiqué.

The text denounced the use of force but without mentioning Vladimir Putin's Russia, which maintains close ties with G20 members such as India and Brazil.

British Foreign Minister David Cameron, for his part, intends to take advantage of his presence at the G20 to denounce “

Russian aggression

” in Ukraine “


” to his Russian counterpart, according to a press release from his ministry.

On Saturday, members of the G7, which includes the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada, all allies of Ukraine, are expected to discuss in a virtual meeting tougher sanctions against Moscow.

Brazilian Minister Mauricio Veira also criticized military spending around the world, which is much higher than spending on poverty reduction or sustainable development.

While inequality and climate change pose existential threats, I can't help but feel that we need concrete action on these issues.


With this meeting, Brazil is trying to position itself as one of the spokespersons for the countries of the South and mediator of current conflicts.

Even if the summit does not have decision-making power, the reform of global governance should be at the heart of the G20 debates this year.

In November, the heads of state of the countries that make up the organization will meet again in Rio.


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