Joly won't meet her Russian counterpart, but is open to working with China

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Canada's foreign affairs minister says she won't meet with her Russian counterpart when the two cross paths at international summits in the coming days.

Mélanie Joly says she is open to the idea of working with China on certain issues, but says Russia must be treated like a pariah.

Joly is travelling to a series of global summits, two of which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is attending.

She said she would not meet with Lavrov if she was invited to do so at either the current Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit or next week's G-20 meetings, saying it would legitimize Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Joly recently said Canada will try to limit its ties with China over concerns ranging from human rights to intellectual property.

Yet Joly says she would accept a meeting with China's leadership because Canada wants to collaborate on issues like climate change.

In fact, Joly said she expects to be seated next to a Chinese official in a few days at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, since these summits often seat countries in an English alphabetical order.

"There is a battle of influence happening," Joly said. "Our goal is to isolate Russia economically, politically and diplomatically."

Joly noted that Lavrov left the G20 foreign ministers meeting early last summer, which she chalked up to mounting pressure against Russia.

"There is a growing consensus that what is happening in Ukraine is completely unacceptable."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2022.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press