Leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies have called for safe, unimpeded and timely delivery of assistance for those in need as a result of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, and expressed fresh concerns about the humanitarian consequences of the conflict.

The pleas were made at the Group of 20 (G20) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting hosted by Indonesia from July 7-8 in Bali – and attended in-person by Kao Kim Hourn, Cambodia’s Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov attended the meeting in-person, while his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba addressed the event virtually.

The G20 meeting discussed the promotion of multilateralism and approaches to the escalating energy crises and food security issues across the globe, and called for the world to work together and deal with the knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict, which is piling pressure on a global community still focused on Covid-19 recovery.

In a video press statement after the conclusion of the meeting on July 8, Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi said: “Participants expressed deep concern about humanitarian consequences of the war as well as its global impact on food energy and finance … [and called] for full and consistent adherence to the UN Charter as well as applicable international law.

“Some members expressed condemnation on the act of invasions. The war has caused tremendous suffering to the civilian population and there is a need to ensure safe and unhindered access for timely delivery of humanitarian assistance for those in need.”

G20 leaders agreed that trust among nations is crucial to creating a conducive environment for peace and stability, she said, adding that there were strong calls for an immediate end to the Ukraine conflict and peaceful resolution through diplomacy and negotiations.

Leaders agreed on the urgent need to promote multilateralism amid concerns over the increasing challenges and threats to the principle as an effective approach to global issues.

“Multilateralism remains the best way to resolve global challenges. Cooperation in pandemic response, including ensuring equitable access to vaccines is one of multilateralism’s success stories,” Retno said, underscoring that political will and global collaboration are “critical” to ensuring that multilateralism delivers and benefits all countries.

“All participants were concerned about soaring prices of food and energy and reiterated that [the] current crisis – including issues related to their accessibility, affordability and sustainability – will continue to hinder global recovery.

“Developing countries will be the most affected, particularly low-income countries and small island developing countries.

“There is an urgent need to address global food supply chain disruption, reintegrating food and fertiliser from Ukraine and Russia into [the] global market is critical,” she said, adding that there was ample support at the meeting for UN chief Antonio Guterres’ efforts to guarantee safe passage, including via seaports.

“Some participants underlined that food and fertiliser are not [within the scope of] the sanctions, and expressed readiness to address practical difficulties in doing trade in food and fertiliser” concerning, inter alia, payment, insurance and logistics, Retno said.

“Some participants also called for a stronger partnership and collaboration in achieving energy security and accelerating transition to clean and renewable energy through research cooperation, investment and affordable transfer of technology,” she added.