US President Joe Biden and his advisers are still in conversations about how to approach November’s G20 summit, whose hosts received confirmation Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to attend.
Biden has said Russia should be ejected from the G20. Senior members of his administration have walked out of G20 events where Russian delegates are present. And there were discussions with Indonesia, who is hosting the summit, about stepping up its condemnation of Russia and how to approach the sticky situation.
But no decision on boycotting the leaders’ summit, still six months away, has been made. And officials are weighing the downsides of skipping the event and ceding the table to Russia and China.
“The President has been clear about his view: This shouldn’t be business as usual, and that Russia should not be a part of this,” press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday. “But, again, it’s six months away.”
White House aides are realistic the G20 will not collectively remove Russia from its ranks, since the decision requires consensus and China has been clear they don’t support such a move. That makes this a different scenario than when Russia was expelled from the G8 after its annexation of Crimea.
That sets up a potentially complicated summit on the Indonesian island Bali, which is scheduled to begin in the beginning of November. White House officials have mulled a number of different scenarios, including potentially sending a lower-level delegation or participating remotely. But Biden attending in person is still considered the likeliest outcome, even if Putin is also there.