President Joko WIdodo, center, delivers a speech to conclude the G20 Summit as Finance Minister Sri Mulyani hugs Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on the background in Bali on November 16, 2022. (Antara photo)

Keeping G20 Membership Intact until Summit is Already an Achievement: Retno

BY :HERU ANDRIYANTO

NOVEMBER 30, 2022

Jakarta. Indonesia’s G20 presidency came at a time when the global economy was struggling to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and was followed by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine which threatened the very existence of the group in which Russia is a key member, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has said.

Divisions among members have been so tense that many began to doubt if the summit in Bali would ever take place amid reports that several world leaders would boycott the event if Russian President Vladimir Putin participated.

“We came to a point that getting the summit done with the G20 membership staying intact is already an achievement for Indonesia,” Retno said in an exclusive interview with Jakarta-based news broadcaster BTV aired on Tuesday night.

Indonesia successfully hosted the G20 Summit on November 15-16 involving all members although three leaders including Putin didn't come. They instead sent their foreign ministers to lead the delegations.

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The summit concluded with the joint Leaders’ Declaration which in part condemns Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine but the Kremlin said it was “satisfied” by the wording of the declaration.

“When we received the gavel during the Rome Summit and formally began our presidency of the G20 on December 1, 2021, the world is being faced with the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy which grew very slowly,” Retno told BTV news anchor Fristian Griec.

“Come February 2022, the global story began to change because of the war in Ukraine. That means we were being presented with two major challenges whose impacts on the global economy were extraordinary.”

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Indonesia’s presidency came under multifaceted crises in the world economy, security, health system, and geopolitics that made the international community increasingly skeptical about the summit of the biggest economies, whose combined GDP accounts for more than 80 percent of the world’s total.

But the summit could proceed without major hurdles because of Indonesia’s “long-time investment in its foreign policies” which emphasize mutual respect and non-intervention of each country’s domestic affairs while actively promoting global peace and cooperation, she said.

“Because they have trust in Indonesia’s leadership, they finally agreed that [the summit] had to go on,” Retno said, adding that the situation was marred by rivalries that were “so sharp, extensive, and deeply entrenched”. 

She said the key to the success is Indonesia’s willingness to listen.

“It sounds easy but you can imagine the situation at the time. Gosh, everyone wanted to speak and express opinions -- different opinions -- but no one wanted to listen to each other,” Retno said.

As a chair of the summit, Indonesia made sure that everyone’s opinion was heard and amplified and attempted to bridge divisions among members.

“We built as many bridges as required,” she added.

President Joko Widodo has since the beginning of the summit reminded all members that G20 is about collective work, Retno said.

“I remember the president’s first message was ‘today we are going to show the world whether we will write down our success together or become a failure once again’,” Retno quoted the president as having told G20 members.

 

 

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