Kis Russian President Vladimir Putin coming to the G-20 summit in Bali or not? This is a question that many in Southeast Asia are currently asking. So far, the Kremlin has not given an answer. In Indonesia, which currently holds the G-20 presidency, there is a suspicion that the question could remain open until the summit itself. “Let’s wait until day X,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told Reuters. Putin “cannot decide at the moment,” President Joko Widodo told the Indonesian newspaper “Kompas”. In any case, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced that he would cancel if Putin attended. Indonesia invited him to the meeting, even though Ukraine is not among the 20 most important industrialized and emerging countries whose heads of state and government meet on November 15 and 16 in Bali.
Host Widodo resisted pressure to uninvite the Russian president until the last minute. He argues that his participation offers “space for dialogue” in which a solution to the conflict can be sought. For Widodo, the summit is a tightrope walk. The Indonesian President, whose second term ends in 2024, is keen to have a successful meeting. For this reason, he traveled to Kyiv and Moscow at the end of June to talk to Zelenskyy and Putin. A boycott of the event is now rejected in the West as an affront to the host. According to the Indonesians, 17 heads of state and government have made firm commitments, including American President Joe Biden and Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “The consensus now is that they will come,” Rizal Sukma, former Indonesian ambassador to London, said at a recent webinar.