Why Indonesian leaders visit Moscow, Kyiv

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who holds the G20 presidency of the major wealthy and developing nations, will travel to Ukraine and Russia to join the two leaders after a visit to Germany. Leaders of warring countries meet for G7 summit.

Widodo has sought to remain neutral since the war began, and hopes his efforts will lead to a ceasefire between the two leaders and eventual direct talks.

What does WIDODO hope to achieve?

Widodo said he wanted to encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to start a dialogue on ending a war that has caused global food shortages and soaring commodity prices.

“My mission is to build peace, because the war has to stop, it has to be eliminated (its impact on the food supply chain), and I will invite President Putin to open a dialogue and implement a ceasefire and stop the war as soon as possible,” Widodo said.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has choked global markets and led to higher prices for meat, dairy, grains, sugar and vegetable oils.

“These visits are important not only for Indonesians, but also for other developing countries to prevent people in developing and low-income countries from falling into extreme poverty and hunger,” Widodo said.

Why is the Ukraine war important to Widodo?

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said it was important to resume grain exports from Ukraine and grain and fertilizer exports from Russia to end shortages and lower prices.

The rising cost of cooking oil prompted the Indonesian government to temporarily ban the export of palm oil products amid a series of student protests against soaring food prices. A month later, Indonesia resumed exports of crude palm oil.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s largest palm oil exporters, accounting for 85% of global production.

Why would Putin and Zelensky listen to Widodo?

As this year’s G20 chair, Indonesia has sought to remain neutral in its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been cautious in its comments.

Widodo has said he extended Indonesia’s support to Putin and Zelensky in their peace efforts, a move seen as an attempt to unite a G20 forum divided by ongoing conflict.

The United States and its allies in the Group of Seven (a subset of the G-20) have sought to punish Putin in as many ways as possible, including threatening to boycott the G-20 summit. in Bali later this year, unless Putin is kicked out of the forum.

Widodo has invited Zelensky and Putin to the summit, hoping it will reassure supporters in Ukraine and Russia and limit interference with other agenda items at the forum. Ukraine is not a member of the forum, but Russia is.

What are his chances of success?

Widodo will be the first Asian leader to visit a warring country.

A few weeks ago, Russia said it was studying an Italian proposal to end the conflict in Ukraine. Talks between Russia and Ukraine to end hostilities have largely stalled.

Inconclusive talks between the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers in Turkey in March followed by a delegation meeting in Istanbul also failed to yield concrete results.

Gilang Kembara, an international politics researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an Indonesian think tank, is pessimistic that Putin will listen to Widodo and find a peaceful solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“The chances of doing that are very slim,” Kembala said. “Indonesia doesn’t have a lot of experience as a peace mediator outside of Southeast Asia.”

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