G-20 host Indonesia lobbies West to soften Russia criticism in communiqué

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BALI, Indonesia — Senior Indonesian politicians are calling connected Western leaders to marque concessions connected however acold to spell successful criticizing Russia implicit the warfare successful Ukraine successful a last-ditch effort to debar leaving the G20 acme aboriginal this week without a associated declaration, 3 diplomats with cognition of the ongoing negotiations told POLITICO.

According to these diplomats, U.S., European, Australian, Canadian and Japanese officials are among those nether unit from Indonesian counterparts, each the mode up to President Joko Widodo, to amusement “flexibility” and see utilizing little pugnacious rhetoric successful bid for Moscow — represented astatine the Bali acme by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov — to accidental yes to a communiqué astatine the extremity of the gathering.

Widodo “considers it a idiosyncratic success” if a G20 declaration could beryllium reached, 1 of the officials said, adding that the Indonesian person has lamented repeatedly that helium is chairing the “most difficult” G20 acme ever.

He is besides seeking to debar kicking Russia retired and making it the G19, which the G8 did successful the aftermath of Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea successful 2014.

One anticipation would beryllium to absorption squarely connected the facet of “upholding planetary law.” If adopted, that would beryllium overmuch much coded wording than what’s been utilized by the G7, which has repeatedly condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warfare connected Ukraine.

The latest G7 statement, pursuing this month’s gathering of overseas ministers from the group, criticized Moscow for “its warfare of aggression against Ukraine” and called for Russia to withdraw. “We condemn Russia’s caller escalation, including its attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure,” it said. The G7 countries besides blasted “Russia’s irresponsible atomic rhetoric,” according to the Nov. 4 statement.

“Obviously we can’t beryllium arsenic pugnacious arsenic we bash it successful G7 erstwhile you request the Russians, Chinese and Saudis to agree,” a Western diplomat said, referring to the larger G20 grouping. “The question is however overmuch we request to delete.”

China, Saudi Arabia, India and Brazil, 4 of the chap G20 countries, are described arsenic “sitting connected the fence” implicit the issue.

Beijing, successful particular, would find it intolerable to judge immoderate nonstop disapproval of Russia. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who volition beryllium attending the G20 acme personally, has truthful acold lone made an effort to amusement disapproval of immoderate threats of utilizing atomic weapons, without attributing specified threats to Moscow.

Another contented for Widodo is the apt deficiency of a household photograph for the two-day acme that starts connected Tuesday. According to convention, each the G20 leaders would enactment up and instrumentality a radical representation to amusement solidarity. This time, however, Western leaders person hesitation astir being successful the aforesaid framework arsenic Lavrov, a cardinal adjutant to Putin, whom U.S. President Joe Biden has called a “killer.”

Widodo is described arsenic “interested” successful assessing chap leaders’ opinions connected having specified a household photo.

Much of his lobbying has taken spot successful Cambodia, wherever he’s attending the East Asia Summit. Also successful Cambodia were Biden, European Council President Charles Michel, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Australia’s Anthony Albanese. Russia’s Lavrov and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang were besides successful Phnom Penh.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has urged Western countries for much “flexibility” | Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking successful Cambodia, Albanese confirmed to reporters that officials are inactive negotiating implicit the wording a G20 last communiqué.

“You cognize the mode that these conferences work. We’ve conscionable got done an East Asia Summit, an ASEAN gathering and a scope of different summits. So we’re waiting to spot what happens, but I spell into the G20 with a large woody of confidence,” Albanese said.

Lavrov criticized Washington for stirring up confrontation successful Asia. “There is simply a wide inclination connected militarization of the portion done coordination of efforts of section U.S. allies specified Australia, New Zealand, Japan with NATO enlargement,” helium said.