Ursula von der Leyen spoke against ?paralyzing? the G20 despite calls to boycott the upcoming summit because of Russia
It is better to have a frank face-to-face conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin than boycott the Group of Twenty (G20) summit this year, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has insisted.
"It is 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 the German broadcaster ZDF on Sunday. However, she said there can be no "business as usual" with Russia after it launched a military campaign in Ukraine in late February.
The G20, which includes countries such as the US, 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 should paralyze the entire G20. I'm not advocating that. I think this institution is far too important," the European Commission chief claimed.
US President Joe Biden suggested in March that Russia should be expelled from 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 walked out during a speech by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov at a ministerial G20 event in Washington.
Indonesia, which holds the group's rotating presidency and is the host of this year's summit, 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 wants to "unite 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 visit Kiev and Moscow. The Indonesian leader called on Russia and Ukraine to engage in dialogue to end the conflict.