(Jakarta) Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced on Friday that he had invited his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy and confirmed that he had invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit in Indonesia scheduled for November.
Posted at 4:22pm
“I have invited President Zelenskyy to attend the G20 summit,” the Indonesian leader said, implying that a compromise had been found for the meeting scheduled for Bali, while members of the group have been deeply divided since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine be .
Indonesia, which chairs the G20 this year, has come under intense pressure from the West, led by the United States, to exclude Russia since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
But Jakarta resisted, arguing that its position as host required it to remain “impartial” and US President Joe Biden in particular has suggested Ukraine’s participation to strike a balance.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted on Wednesday that he was invited to the summit by Indonesia after a phone call with his Indonesian counterpart.
Joko Widodo also spoke to the Russian President on Thursday. “On this occasion, President Putin thanked Indonesia for the invitation to the G20 summit and said he would attend,” the Indonesian president said.
During the call, Mr Putin wished the “success” of the Indonesian presidency at the G20 and assured that Russia would contribute, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press.
But “for the time being, it is premature to share the terms of Russian participation,” he said, leaving open doubts about the format of Russia’s participation.
Washington, for its part, expressed reluctance.
US President Joe Biden “has publicly expressed his opposition to President Putin’s presence at the G20,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday, but welcomed Ukrainians’ invitation to the summit.
She added that the United States was in contact with the Indonesians and that Russia’s invitation predated the invasion, which began on February 24.
Russia’s participation in international summits should not be “pretended that nothing happened,” said a State Department spokeswoman, who did not say whether or not Washington would decline to attend the meeting.
Since the beginning of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, the West has tried to isolate Russia on the diplomatic stage.
A meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington in April highlighted the deep divisions in the group of the world’s major economies, with some meetings being boycotted by the United States and several allies protesting Russia’s participation.
But Indonesia, like most major emerging economies, wants to maintain a neutral stance.
Joko Widodo said on Friday that Indonesia would not send arms to Ukraine in response to a request from the Ukrainian president.
“I have reiterated, in accordance with the constitution and the principles of Indonesia’s foreign policy, that it is forbidden to send arms to other countries,” he said while offering humanitarian aid to Kyiv.
The war in Ukraine and the G20 were also on the agenda of a meeting between the Indonesian leader and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday, where they demonstrated their convergence.
Joko Widodo highlighted the role of the G20 arena in facilitating dialogue and resolving the humanitarian and economic implications of the conflict in Ukraine, while calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
“I agreed with the President [indonésien] that the military attacks on Ukraine have been intolerable and that violating sovereignty and territorial integrity through violence and intimidation, as well as an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force, is intolerable in any region,” the Japanese prime minister said.