December 10, 2023


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The White House is preparing for a possible confrontation between Biden and Putin at the G-20

The White House is preparing for a possible confrontation between Biden and Putin at the G-20

But no decision has been taken on a boycott of the leaders’ summit, which is still six months away. Officials said there is likely to be no decision in the near term as they weigh the downsides of skipping the event and ceding the table to Russia and China.

“The president has publicly expressed his opposition to President Putin’s attendance of the G-20,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.

She said it was too early to talk about the shape of the summit.

“It’s six months. So we don’t know how to expect, we can’t predict at this point, what that’s going to look like,” she said, adding, “We’ve conveyed our view that we don’t think they should be a part of it both publicly and privately.”

The White House is realistic, the G-20 will not collectively remove Russia from its ranks, because the decision will likely require unanimity, and China has made it clear that it does not support such a move. This makes this a different scenario from what happened when Russia was expelled from the G8 after its annexation of Crimea.

Psaki said the White House’s understanding was that Indonesia had invited Putin to attend before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a statement, the country’s president stressed unity among member states.

“Indonesia wants to unite the G20. Do not let division. Peace and stability are the key to the recovery and development of the global economy,” President Joko Widodo said in a statement from Indonesia’s cabinet on Friday. before inviting him to attend.

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Widodo also extended an invitation earlier this week to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who tweeted that he was “grateful” for the invitation, but did not specify if he would attend the summit.

Widodo spoke with Putin and Zelensky in separate phone calls this week, during which he conveyed to the Russian president the importance of ending the war in Ukraine “immediately” and Indonesia’s desire to contribute to a peaceful solution to the conflict, according to the statement.

Widodo said he conveyed to Zelensky Indonesia its willingness to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine but not military assistance, which he said is prohibited by Indonesia’s constitution and foreign policy principles.

Confirmation of Putin’s attendance establishes a potentially complex summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, which is scheduled to begin at the beginning of November. White House officials have considered a number of different scenarios, including the possibility of sending a delegation at a lower level or participating remotely. But Biden’s presence in person is still considered the most likely outcome, even if Putin is also present, according to officials.

Psaki said there were no indications that Russia was ready to engage in serious diplomacy.

“A lot could happen between now and then, but we certainly haven’t seen an indication yet of Russia’s plan to engage in diplomatic talks constructively,” she said. “We certainly hope that will change because obviously talks and diplomatic talks are the way to end this conflict and President Putin can end this tomorrow, and he can end this now.”

Earlier this month, finance ministers from multiple countries, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, walked out of a closed-door session of the G-20 in Washington as the Russian delegate began his prepared remarks, in a parade to protest Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Before the meeting, US officials said Yellen would not participate in certain sessions of the meeting, which includes Russia. Biden said during a surprise NATO summit in March that he would support Russia’s expulsion from the G-20.

Biden said Ukraine should be invited to participate. He said he discussed the matter with other leaders during his meetings.

CNN’s Jorge Ingels contributed to this report.