Statement by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock prior to her departure for the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Indonesia and a visit to Palau and Japan
We could hardly be any further away from Europe in geographical terms at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali – and yet there, too, the main theme will be how to deal with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its grave consequences for the entire world. While the horrors of this war may be taking place on Ukrainian soil, in a globalised world their impact is by no means limited to that country. Russia is killing not only with bombs but also by deliberately taking advantage of dependencies and by using hunger as a weapon. This war is having an effect on people in Mali and the Niger as well as in Lebanon, Argentina and India.
In this situation, coordination and consultation with our international partners are more important than ever. The voice of each individual country around the world carries equal weight, regardless of how large or small it is. It is therefore crucial that we keep looking beyond our immediate neighbourhood to figure out which points are of crucial importance for the decisions and actions of partners in other parts of the world. The G20 meeting offers an excellent opportunity to do just that. It is in the interest of us all to ensure that international law is respected and adhered to. That is the common denominator. And it is also the reason why we will not simply leave the floor to Russia.
For many months now, Russia’s war of aggression has brought into clear focus just how closely interwoven issues such as foreign and security policy, international food security and the climate crisis are. We are all aware that no country can find solutions for this on its own. We all have a role to play. In the Indo-Pacific region, the climate crisis has demonstrated this in a dramatic way: there is a real danger that the rising sea level will simply swallow the Palau archipelago, a nation which only gained independence in 1994. The inhabitants of Palau would thus lose their very existence. Alongside the fundamental issues which this would raise, for example in the sphere of international law, this is above all a warning to us all that we must act as a community: the experience and the voice of smaller states such as Palau are crucial if we are to succeed in the fight against the climate crisis and uphold the international order.
This is all the more true because it is clear even today that the Indo-Pacific will play an increasingly important role on the world stage in the coming years. The reasons for this are economic issues as well as security aspects and energy policy. Few other regions offer more opportunities and yet also pose such immense challenges for the international order. The actions of all players in the region – whether it be smaller states such as Palau or major players such as China, Japan or India – will thus be the focus of greater attention in future. This is one of the reasons why my first official visit to Japan on Sunday and Monday is so important to me. We can rely 100 percent on Japan. In the United Nations, the G7 and other forums, we fight shoulder to shoulder for our shared values and the preservation of the rules-based order. Time and again during the last few months, the Government in Tokyo has demonstrated this very clearly in both theory and practice in the face of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.