Foreign ministers give strong backing to multilateralism

Over two days, the group’s foreign ministers discussed global governance, development and gender, amongst other issues. 

The G20 Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers concluded today in Buenos Aires with a press conference by the foreign ministers of Argentina, Germany and Japan, the member countries that make up the G20 troika.

Foreign ministers Jorge Faurie of Argentina, Heiko Maas of Germany and Taro Kono of Japan agreed in highlighting the importance of multilateralism.

“We all agreed that it is best to have and to maintain multilateralism,” said Faurie, stating that the discussions allowed the group to “visualize the status of a changing world with significant challenges, particularly those relating to the technological revolution.” He added that “multilateral institutions must respond,” and that “the G20 must make progress to improve people’s lives.”

Maas indicated that the rejection of protectionism and the promotion of a rules-based system - issues promoted by last year’s German G20 - remain on the G20 agenda. On the responsibilities of the forum, he stated that “multilateralism is under pressure; we therefore consider it very important that the G20 provide responses.”

“It is important to further strengthen growth in the world by advancing free trade and innovation,” said Kono. “We will hold discussions with a view to realizing an inclusive and sustainable international society,” he added.​

Over the course of two days at San Martín Palace in Buenos Aires, foreign ministers addressed issues such as global governance and the role of international institutions. There was broad support for the three priorities chosen by the Argentine G20 presidency for 2018: the future of work, infrastructure for development and a sustainable food future. The ministers also supported the Argentine presidency’s placing of development at the centre of the G20 agenda, and agreed that G20 policies must be people-focused. Gender, anti-corruption, and the 2030 Agenda as it relates to development, were also discussed.

In addition to Faurie, Maas and Kono, ministers present at the meeting included Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China; Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; Luis Videgaray Caso, Secretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico; Angelino Alfano, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of Italy; and Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom. Deputy Secretary of State of the United States, John J. Sullivan, attended on behalf of Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

As is common at these types of events, ministers have been holding bilateral talks in Buenos Aires in parallel to the G20 meeting at San Martín Palace.

About the meeting

This G20 meeting of foreign ministers is the first such gathering since Bonn, Germany, in February 2017, and only the third in the history of the G20 (the first was at Los Cabos, Mexico in 2012). It is also the third ministerial meeting of the Argentine G20, after the first two meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors in March and April this year.