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Albanese confirms he will attend G20 even if Russian President Vladimir Putin is there

Anthony Albanese says he will represent Australia at the G20 summit in Bali even if Russian President Vladimir Putin is in attendance.

The Prime Minister made the announcement standing beside Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday after their first official meeting since Mr Albanese was sworn in.

Mr Albanese said he had earlier informed Mr Widodo of his decision to attend the November summit.

“I did so because the work of the G20 is critical at this time of global economic uncertainty, and it will be by working with Indonesia that we most effectively tackle the many challenges we face in navigating the post-Covid global economic recovery,” he said.

“I will work closely with President Widodo to help deliver a successful summit. And we discussed that this morning.”

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese inspect the honour guard during the annual leaders’ meeting at Bogor Palace in Indonesia. Alex Ellinghausen
Camera IconPresident of Indonesia Joko Widodo and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese inspect the honour guard during the annual leaders’ meeting at Bogor Palace in Indonesia. Alex Ellinghausen Credit: Supplied

Vladimir Putin in April confirmed he would attend the meeting in a conversation with Mr Widodo. Indonesia has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, despite Ukraine not being a G20 member.

“President Putin extended thanks for the invitation to the G20 summit and he said he will attend,” Mr Widodo said at the time.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison had said it would be a step too far to share the summit table with Mr Putin when Russian troops have been accused of committing war crimes in their invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Albanese is on a three-day visit to Indonesia in his first bilateral diplomatic trip since he was sworn in as prime minister.

Mr Albanese and Mr Widodo went for a cycle around the gardens of the presidential palace in Bogor. Alex Ellinghausen
Camera IconMr Albanese and Mr Widodo went for a cycle around the gardens of the presidential palace in Bogor. Alex Ellinghausen Credit: Supplied

Earlier, he joined Mr Widodo for a cycle around the gardens of the presidential palace in Bogor.

The Prime Minister and Mr Widodo donned helmets and shed their suit jackets and ties. Both men rolled up their sleeves and Mr Albanese tucked his pant legs into his socks.

Mr Albanese was invited on the bike ride by Mr Widodo as part of his official welcome to Indonesia.

He is travelling with Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Industry Minister Ed Husic, Trade Minister Don Farrell and Labor MP Luke Gosling, who is representing Darwin.

The Labor frontbenchers have been joined by a contingent of Australian business leaders.

The group arrived at the palace, outside Jakarta, on Monday where they were greeted with a ceremonial welcome and the playing of both national anthems.

Mr Albanese and Mr Widodo planted a tree together before heading to the bikes, which are believed to have been made out of bamboo.

After their ride, the two leaders held their first official meeting since Mr Albanese was sworn in as prime minister. Alex Ellinghausen
Camera IconAfter their ride, the two leaders held their first official meeting since Mr Albanese was sworn in as prime minister. Alex Ellinghausen Credit: Supplied

Bikes in Indonesia signify humble beginnings, which both men share, making the ride a gesture from Mr Widodo.

After their ride, the two leaders held a meeting to discuss the Australian-Indonesian relationship and their strategic priorities.

Addressing the media after their talk, Mr Albanese thanked Mr Widodo in Bahasa Indonesia — terima kasih — and said the two nations were linked “not just by geography” but “by choice”.

“Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is one of our most important,” Mr Albanese said before naming a list of commitments aimed at strengthening ties with the archipelago nation.

Mr Albanese said revitalising the trade and investment relationship between the two countries was a priority for his government, with the Indonesia‑Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and the upcoming G20 summit in Bali top of the agenda.

He said the Australian government would advance its $200 million climate and infrastructure partnership with Jakarta and also work with business leaders to explore investment opportunities in Indonesia.

He said he was pleased to have recognised with Mr Widodo the significant defence and security relationship between the two nations and “all this does to support regional security and stability”.

The two leaders took part in a tree planting ceremony on Monday. Alex Ellinghausen
Camera IconThe two leaders took part in a tree planting ceremony on Monday. Alex Ellinghausen Credit: Supplied

Mr Albanese said he looked forward to hosting Mr Widodo in Canberra for their next annual meeting, saying he hoped to make him feel as welcome as he felt in Indonesia.

“Although I can’t promise a bike ride until Lake Burley Griffin,” Mr Albanese joked.

The prime minister will hold a press conference with travelling reporters at 5.30pm before he meets with the Association of South-East Asian Nations secretary later on Tuesday evening.

Mr Albanese on Sunday described Mr Widodo as a “great friend of Australia”.

“My first visit as Labor leader was to Indonesia and I wanted to make sure that my first bilateral visit was here,” he told reporters at the international airport in Jakarta

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