ELMAU, Germany (AP) - The Indonesian presidency of the Group of 20 nations has ruled out in-person participation by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the November meeting of the group in Bali, Italian Premier Mario Draghi said Tuesday.
The Nov. 15-16 summit had risked awkward diplomatic encounters if Putin were to have come, or the specter of Western leaders not even showing up given Russia's war in Ukraine.
The issue was a topic at the smaller Group of Seven summit in Germany that wrapped up Tuesday and included leaders from five major emerging democratic economies - India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Argentina - which don't all share the G-7's views on the war in Ukraine or on sanctions against Russia.
But Draghi, whose country held the G-20 presidency before handing it off to Indonesia, said Tuesday the G-7 had rallied to support Indonesian President Joko Widodo to organize a successful summit. He was asked about comments from Putin adviser Yuri Ushakov that Putin had accepted Widodo's invitation to attend the Bali summit.
"President Widodo excludes it. He was categorical: He's not coming," Draghi told reporters in Elmau, Germany. "What might happen - I don't know what will happen but what might happen - is perhaps a remote intervention. We'll see."
Ushakov shot back Tuesday that "it's not Draghi who decides that."
"We have received an invitation and responded positively," he said.
Putin, along with several other leaders, participated via video at the G-20 summit in Rome last October, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was less committal when asked about the potential for a standoff in Bali, saying only that the West had no intention of "torpedoing" the G-20.
"We must not walk into the trap Putin sets of asserting that the world is divided into the global West - the G-7 and its friends in the north - and all the rest," he told Germany's ZDF television. "That's not true. There are democracies all over the world and they have very similar perspectives."
Scholz didn't give an explicit commitment to turn up to the G-20 summit regardless of whether Putin attends, but stressed the group's importance.
"There is a common conviction … that we don't want to torpedo the G-20," he said.