JAKARTA, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend a meeting of Group of 20 (G20) leaders on the resort island of Bali next week, Indonesian and Russian officials said on Thursday.
Instead, Putin will be represented by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, officials said.
The Russian president will attend one of the summit’s meetings virtually, said Jodi Mahardi, a spokeswoman for Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs.
As a G20 host, Indonesia has resisted pressure from Western countries and Ukraine to withdraw its invitation to Putin from the summit and to exclude Russia from the group over the war in Ukraine, saying it has no authority to do so without consensus among members .
A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Indonesia confirmed that Putin would not attend the summit, but made no further statement.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo had tried to settle geopolitical frictions between the powers in the G20. Meetings that year included strikes and boycott threats sparked by tensions over the invasion, which Russia calls a “special operation.”
“(The President) has been trying to make sure everyone calms down and that seems to be happening now,” Coordinating Minister for Marine and Investment Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan told local media in Bali.
The president, widely known as Jokowi, said in a recent interview with the Financial Times that Russia was welcome at the summit, which he said would be overshadowed by a “very worrying” rise in international tensions.
“The G20 is not meant to be a political forum. It should be about the economy and development,” he was quoted as saying.
Indonesia has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has said he would not attend if Putin does and was expected to join virtually.
A number of other leaders will also attend the summit, which begins on November 15, including US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Reporting by Ananda Teresia, Gayatri Suroyo and Stanley Widianto in Jakarta; writing by Ed Davies; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Lincoln Feast and Gerry Doyle
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