Indonesia says it will not exclude Russia from G-20

Indonesia will chair the Group of 20 (G-20) meeting this year. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Indonesia, which holds the rotating Group of 20 (G-20) presidency, said it will not close the grouping to Russia, amid pressure from some member countries to exclude Moscow because of the war in Ukraine.

Jakarta will chair the grouping this year "in line with the previous presidency", Indonesia's G-20 co-sherpa Dian Triansyah Djani said on Thursday (March 24).

"Every organisation has its own rules of procedures, precedents and manners to discuss issues," he told a virtual press briefing.

"Our position is quite clear... we will conduct our presidency based on what had been done in the previous presidency. And, of course, once again, we have always based our diplomacy on principles."

On why Indonesia invited Russia to the summit in November, Mr Dian said: "It is the duty of all G-20 presidents to invite all of its members. … We will continue to carry out our task like former presidencies."

He added: "I'm not going to predict what's going to happen in the future. But one thing for sure is that we will remain as an impartial (G-20) president and we will try to find solutions to any issues that may arise."

Russia's Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva revealed on Wednesday President Vladimir Putin's intention to take part in the G-20 summit that Indonesia will host, dismissing talks of him being excluded because of the war in Ukraine.

There have been mixed reactions to Mr Putin's plan of attendance.

Germany called for a discussion on the possibility of excluding Russia from the grouping of the world's major economies as Western powers continue to exert sanctions on Moscow.

But China said it viewed Russia as an important member of the G-20. In its support to Moscow, Beijing said no member had the right to expel another member, after the United States raised the prospect of excluding Moscow from the summit.

China added that the grouping had to collaborate to spur economic growth to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison described permitting Mr Putin to sit with other world leaders at the summit as "a step too far", and said he had been "in direct contact" with Indonesian President Joko Widodo about Mr Putin's attendance.

"I think we need to have people in the room that aren't invading other countries," Mr Morrison told reporters in Melbourne.

"Russia has invaded Ukraine. This is a violent and aggressive act that shatters the international rule of law."

Mr Dian, special adviser to Indonesia's foreign minister, declined to comment on Mr Morrison's comments.

However, he noted that Indonesia would "consult with all members", and also "engage with its counterparts bilaterally" to seek their insights.

He also stressed that Indonesia would focus on its priorities and agenda, including those pertaining to economic recovery.

The country had earlier ruled out the possibility of including the Ukraine crisis in the G-20 agenda during its year-long presidency of the bloc, which comprises not only the US and its allies, but also China and Russia.

Jakarta also sought to stick to the group's mandate as a platform for multilateral economic cooperation.

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