G20 in Bonn

German foreign minister calls for international cooperation

BONN. On the opening day of the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bonn, U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson made his first appearance on the world stage.  German Foreign Minister Gabriel appealed for international cooperation.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first appearance on the world stage stood out in the first day of the G20 Summit in Bonn.  In a series of bilateral meetings behind closed doors, the other participants seemed to be looking for clarification as to what the new foreign policy of the U.S. would look like - where would there be continuity and what changes could be expected. 

Tillerson first met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lawrow and told journalists after the meeting that he had addressed the conflict in the Ukraine, asking that Russia respect the Minsk Protocol and help restore calm to the region . European representatives reacted positively to Tillerson’s acknowledgement of the Minsk Protocol. Tillerson said that the U.S. government would work with Russia where it can find practical areas of cooperation “that will benefit the American people.” 

Lawrow was more restrained in his response on Russian television, saying “it’s clear that we cannot resolve all problems.”  But both countries would look for areas where they had common interests. 

The two-day informal conference of the G20 ministers began on Thursday afternoon.  German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he wanted to send “a signal” in a time where  there is much movement towards going it alone - without naming the U.S.  UN General Secretary António Guterres also appealed for multilateralism. 

On the afternoon schedule was the UN sustainability agenda.  Gabriel said this was important because “world security is not possible when justice and a better life are not attainable for everyone.” 

(Orig. text: afp)