Indonesia president Joko Widodo urges Zelensky, Putin to 'forge peace'

Indonesia President Joko Widodo delivering his speech during the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting on Feb 17, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's President Joko Widodo said on Friday (April 29) he had turned down a request for arms from Ukraine's leader and urged him and his Russian counterpart to end the war in Ukraine.

Indonesia is currently chairing the Group of 20 (G-20) major economies and has invited both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian leader Vladimir Putin to the leaders summit in November, despite pressure from some Western countries to exclude the latter.

"I expressed my hope that the war can soon be ended, and peaceful solutions can be forged through negotiations," Mr Jokowi, as the Indonesian president is commonly known, said in an online statement, adding that he had spoken with both leaders by phone this week.

Mr Jokowi also said he declined Mr Zelensky's request for weapons due the South-east Asian country's foreign policy, which tries to steer a path of strategic neutrality. He said Indonesia was ready to send humanitarian aid.

Some members of the G-20 like the United States, Britain, and Canada have urged Indonesia not to invite Mr Putin because of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia calls its actions a "special operation".

But Mr Jokowi said, "Indonesia wants to unite the G-20, don't let there be fractures".

Ukraine is not a member of the G-20, but chairs of the grouping have previously invited guest countries.

Mr Zelensky's attendance at the summit in the Indonesian island of Bali would "depend mainly on the situation in the battlefield", Mr Vysotskyi Taras, a senior Ukrainian government official, said on Thursday.

While Mr Jokowi said Mr Putin intended to attend, a Kremlin spokesperson last week said he had yet to confirm.

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