Indonesia invites all G-20 countries, including Russia, to finance meeting

Dandy Koswaraputra
2022.04.14
Jakarta
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Indonesia invites all G-20 countries, including Russia, to finance meeting Indonesia President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is seen on a screen delivering his speech during the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting at the Jakarta Convention Center, Feb. 17, 2022.
Pool via Reuters

Updated at 8:12 a.m. ET on 2022-04-15

Indonesia, which serves as president of the G-20 group of leading economies this year, announced Thursday that it has invited all members, including Russia, to attend the group’s meeting of finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Washington next week.

The announcement came a week after the United States threatened to boycott G-20 meetings if Russian representatives attend, in protest over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Every member country has the right to attend,” said an Indonesian finance ministry official in Jakarta, who declined to be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity.

“A total of 42 delegation heads will be attending in person, and the rest will do so virtually,” the official told BenarNews on Thursday. It is not clear how many will attend virtually.

The gathering of finance ministers and central bank governors is scheduled for April 20 on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov had confirmed that he would attend the meeting virtually, the Reuters news agency reported, quoting Wempi Saputra, an assistant to the Indonesian finance minister. In addition, Indonesia is considering proposals to invite Ukraine to the Washington meeting to discuss Russia’s actions in Ukraine.  

Indonesia is scheduled to host a G-20 meeting of finance ministers in July and a leaders’ summit in November, both in Bali.

Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the United States would boycott G-20 meetings if representatives from Russia were present.

U.S. President Joe Biden had “asked that Russia be removed from the G-20, and I’ve made clear to my colleagues in Indonesia that we will not be participating in a number of meetings if the Russians are there,” Yellen said.

Biden in March called on Indonesia to allow Ukraine to attend the summit if Russia was invited.

Indonesia is considering inviting a Ukrainian delegation to the November leaders’ summit, said Teuku Faizasyah, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“This issue is still being consulted with various groups, various constituents of foreign policy in the country, so that it will be more comprehensive when Indonesia finally makes the decision (on whether to invite Ukraine),” he said during a virtual media briefing.

Previously, Faizasyah said that Indonesia was consulting other G-20 members to elicit their views on the issue.

“Of course, we also listen to the views raised by several world leaders,” he told reporters on Thursday.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi plans to tour several European countries, including Germany and Italy, to discuss the Ukraine issue. Travel dates have not been set.

“It’s more about how to navigate the G-20 response regarding the Ukraine issue, including the economic impact that the whole world is currently experiencing,” Achmad Rizal Purnama, a foreign ministry official, said Thursday.

The United States and other Western countries want Russia to be removed from the G-20 because of the invasion and the ensuing conflict that has resulted in more than 4 million Ukrainians fleeing the country. The allies also have asked Indonesia to not invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Bali summit.

Indonesia had sent invitations to all member countries to attend the G-20 November summit, including Russia, another foreign ministry official, Dian Triansyah Djani, said last month.

Ukraine, which is not a G-20 member, previously urged Indonesia to include discussions on the invasion during the summit. Jakarta’s stance was “that the G-20 summit should focus on global economic issues,” a foreign ministry spokesman said at the time.

On March 2, Indonesia voted for a U.N. resolution that condemned Russia’s military strike on Ukraine. However, Jakarta has not directly criticized Moscow or used the word “invasion” since then.

Putin invited

On Thursday, Lyudmila Vorobieva, Russian ambassador to Indonesia, said Putin intended to attend the G-20 leaders’ summit, although the plan is subject to change.

“President Jokowi’s invitation [to Putin] has been sent,” Vorobieva said regarding the November summit, as reported by Liputan6.com news site.

“As an ambassador, I really hope that our president will visit Indonesia and attend the G-20 summit,” she said. “We appreciate the position of the Indonesian government, which is steadfast in focusing on the economic agenda.”

Along with Indonesia, the G-20 comprises South Africa, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Britain, Italy, Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, France, Russia, Turkey, and the European Union.

The G-20 finance meetings in July are to be attended by delegates from Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Congo, Rwanda, Fiji, Antigua and Barbuda, and Cambodia.

CORRECTION: An earlier version gave wrong information about the date for the meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Washington.

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