ELMAU, Germany (AP) — The Indonesian presidency of the Group of 20 nations has ruled out in-person participation by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the November meeting of the group in Bali, Italian Premier Mario Draghi said Tuesday.
The Nov. 15-16 summit had risked awkward diplomatic encounters if Putin were to have come, or the specter of Western leaders not even showing up given Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The issue was a topic at the smaller Group of Seven summit in Germany that wrapped up Tuesday and included leaders from five major emerging democratic economies — India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Argentina — which don’t all share the G-7’s views on the war in Ukraine or on sanctions against Russia.
But Draghi, whose country held the G-20 presidency before handing it off to Indonesia, said Tuesday the G-7 had rallied to support Indonesian President Joko Widodo to organize a successful summit. He was asked about comments from Putin adviser Yuri Ushakov that Putin had accepted Widodo’s invitation to attend the Bali summit.
“President Widodo excludes it. He was categorical: He’s not coming,” Draghi told reporters in Elmau, Germany. “What might happen — I don’t know what will happen but what might happen — is perhaps a remote intervention. We’ll see.”
Ushakov shot back Tuesday that “it’s not Draghi who decides that.”
“We have received an invitation and responded positively,” he said.
Widodo is scheduled to travel to Russia and Ukraine after the G-7 meetings.
Putin, along with several other leaders, participated via video at the G-20 summit in Rome last October, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking around the same time as Draghi, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz didn’t address whether or not Putin would attend. But he said that he and his fellow G-7 leaders agreed that “we don’t want to drive the G-20 apart.”
Scholz added: “Viewed from today, the decision of the states that were gathered here would be that they go there.”