The two leaders will attend the summit in Bali next month, an Indonesian diplomat told UAE media Vladimir Zelensky (R) and Vladimir Putin (R) arrive for a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 9, 2019 © AP / Ian Langsdon
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, will both travel to Bali in November for the G20 summit, an Indonesian diplomat told The National, an Emirati news source. If true, the summit will be the first event attended by both leaders since Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began.
“Both have agreed [to attend],” Indonesia’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Husain Bagis, told The National on Friday.
He conceded that “the situation isn’t easy because of the Ukraine-Russia war,” and said that his government is already planning how to manage the arrival of the two leaders. “We are deciding which hotels to put them up in – one for Mr. Putin and one for Mr. Zelensky,” he said.
Biden responds to Putin meeting speculation
The Kremlin confirmed in June that Putin would attend the summit, although Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the format of Putin’s participation “is still not defined.” Kiev stated in August that Zelensky “believes that he should be on the territory of Ukraine,” but would “think about” making the trip if Putin were to attend in person.
US President Joe Biden and a number of other Western leaders urged Indonesian President Joko Widodo in March not to invite Putin to the summit in Bali. However, Widodo resisted the pressure campaign and invited the Russian leader as planned. With Widodo having met both Zelensky and Putin earlier this summer in a bid to “invite the two leaders to open dialogue and stop the war,” Bagis told The National that Indonesia aims “to make the G20 a platform for peace, not conflict.”
Biden also appears to have softened his exclusionary stance toward Putin, telling reporters on Thursday that it “remains to be seen” whether he would meet the Russian president on the sidelines of the summit. The State Department quickly stepped in to say that in the view of the entire government, “it cannot be business as usual when it comes to Russia.”
Although Ukraine is not one of the world’s 20 largest economies, Zelensky was invited to Bali as a guest. (RT)
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