European Commission chief explains stance on G20 boycott call – Reuters

Ursula von der Leyen has spoken out against the ‘paralysis’ of the G20 despite calls to boycott the next summit because of Russia

Better to have a frank face-to-face conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin than to boycott the Group of Twenty (G20) summit this year, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has said.

« It’s also important to tell him to his face what we think of him and what we think of this kind of action », von der Leyen told German broadcaster ZDF on Sunday. However, she said there can be no « business as usual » with Russia after the launch of a military campaign in Ukraine at the end of February.

The G20, which includes countries like the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, India and Brazil, will hold its annual summit in Bali, Indonesia , in November.

“And we have to think very carefully if we have to paralyze the whole G20. I’m not advocating that. I think this institution is far too important,” said the head of the European Commission.

US President Joe Biden suggested in March that Russia be kicked out of the group altogether, but noted that the issue « depends on the G20. » The call to exclude Moscow was also made by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

In April, Western officials pulled out during a speech by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov at a G20 ministerial event in Washington.

Indonesia, which holds the group’s rotating presidency and hosts this year’s summit, has made it clear that Russia has been invited to attend the November meeting. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was also invited as a guest.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in April that he wanted « uniting the G20. »

“There should be no division. Peace and stability are the keys to the recovery and development of the world economy,” he said.

Widodo is attending the three-day Group of Seven summit in southern Germany, after which he will travel to Kyiv and Moscow. The Indonesian leader called on Russia and Ukraine to engage in dialogue to end the conflict.

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