JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo was set to meet his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to urge peace and help ease a global food crisis triggered by Moscow’s invasion, Indonesia’s top envoy said on Wednesday.
Four months into the war in Ukraine, one of the world’s breadbaskets, the conflict has delivered shockwaves to global supply chains. The invasion has also stoked an energy crisis following international sanctions slapped on Russia — a major oil and gas producer — leading to rising inflation in many countries.
Widodo will be the first Asian leader to meet both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin since the war started in late February.
“The president’s visit showcases concern toward the humanitarian issue and is an attempt to contribute to resolve the food crisis that has been caused by the war and the impact felt on all countries, especially developing and low-income ones,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters. “He’ll keep pushing for the spirit of peace.”
Marsudi said Widodo would visit Ukraine and Russia after attending the Group of Seven summit in Germany next week.
The visit comes as Indonesia holds the presidency of the Group of 20 major economies this year and has been under pressure to exclude Russia from the summit scheduled to take place in Bali in November.
As Indonesia has been struggling to unify G20 members, the success of Widodo’s chairmanship is likely to depend on the trip, Muhammad Waffaa Kharisma, researcher from the Jakarta-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Arab News.
“I think it would be miraculous if President Widodo can actually change the mind of President Vladimir Putin, but I don’t think that’s the case,” he said.
“I think this was an extension of the pressure he has been receiving, because G20 is quite important for Indonesia.”