Despite a mountful of sanctions, Russia and its president Vladimir Putin are still very much a part of the Group of Twenty (G20). The Australian government, the current rotating president of the G20 forum, has announced Mr Putin is very much welcome to attend the global meeting set in Nov 15 and 16 in Brisbane, Australia.
Moreover, the G20 nations expect the Russian president to be present in that meeting two months from now, presumably to owe up to allegations of incursions and expansion in Ukraine.
Opposition to Russia’s attendance to the global summit escalated in July with the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. All 298 onboard were killed, including 38 Australian citizens or residents.
Julie Bishop, Australian Foreign Minister, admitted that based on a survey of members, the global body was divided whether to allow Russia to attend or not.
Ultimately, the G20 leaders decided to keep the door open to keep the dialogue going, she said.
She told ABC News that the G20 countries wants Mr Putin “to turn up and face the international condemnation for its behavior in relation to Ukraine.”
“Australia is the host but we don’t have the right to rescind invitations that have been sent. That would have to be a consensus view within the G20 and there isn’t that consensus,” she added.
Jack Lew, US Treasury Secretary, said he hoped the tensions between Russia and majority of the G20, triggered by the Russia’s annexation of the Crimea as well as its support for separatist Ukrainian rebels in that country’s eastern region, would subside between now and November.
“President Putin will hear very directly what he is hearing through economic sanctions…which is that Russia’s actions are unacceptable,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Lew. “The goal here is to resolve the situation, for Russia [to] work this out on a diplomatic basis so that the Ukraine can be back in business, healing itself.”