At G-20 summit, Biden to push nations to enforce oil and gas limits on Russia

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BALI, Indonesia – President Joe Biden is pushing leaders of the world's largest economies to enforce a price cap on Russian oil and gas in conversations at the G-20 summit.

According to a U.S. official who spoke on a call with reporters, Biden planned to emphasize that the price cap will benefit their economies and help stabilize the global energy market.

Fence-sitting nations that have declined to sanction Russia for its war on Ukraine are some of the biggest holdouts on the price cap that the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and European nations are working to put in place by early December.

Indonesia, which is hosting the summit, and India, a top importer of Russian oil, have not agreed to abide by the price cap, which is intended to cut into Moscow's revenue and make it harder for Russia to continue its war.

In opening the summit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo pleaded for unity despite disagreements over Ukraine. The G-20 is a "badly needed" forum Widodo told leaders and added, without mentioning Russia, "We must end the war."

Other highlights from Biden's day at the G-20:

  • Leaders socialized at a private luncheon and held two working sessions.

  • Biden joined Widodo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in hosting a global infrastructure event.

  • The White House said Biden met with Widodo and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India will host the next year's G-20 summit.

  • Biden also held an unscheduled conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which they discussed grain exports from Ukraine and NATO alliance questions.

  • The president held a planned meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday evening, then skipped a gala dinner and turned in for the night.

Biden set aside time Wednesday before he leaves Bali for the long trip back to Washington to meet with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. In the morning, he'll plant a mangrove tree with other world leaders.

President Joe Biden greets French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the G-20 leaders' summit in Bali, Indonesia.
President Joe Biden greets French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the G-20 leaders' summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The latest:

  • Rallying around Ukraine: The U.S. said Tuesday that most G-20 nations were preparing to release a statement condemning Russia's war in Ukraine.

  • What it will say:  Nations will accuse Russia of wreaking havoc on the global economy and causing immense suffering in Ukraine and developing nations that are facing food and fuel insecurity as a result of the war.

  • Who's in, who's out: The U.S. official who briefed reporters declined to say which countries had signed on.

  • Key opposition: Russia is a member of the G-20, and Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov is in Bali attending the summit.

  • Family photo: Avoiding a potentially awkward moment with Lavrov, the summit schedule does not include the customary “family photo” of world leaders.

  • Lighter moment: FIFA President Gianni Infantino told leaders during a luncheon that he wanted to talk to them about the "one topic" he believes they all can agree on: "Football." Infantino said the sport, which is known as soccer in the United States, is "truly unique" and "unites the world."

  • Endurance test: At an infrastructure meeting, Biden joked, "We haven't heard enough from everybody, so we're going to go another five hours."

  • Biden tests negative: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, with whom Biden met Saturday in Phnom Penh, has tested positive for COVID-19. The White House says Biden's test came back negative.

Backdoor diplomacy

With so many of Biden's interactions taking place behind closed doors at the G-20, it will be hard to know which leaders he sought out and which nations he avoided.

For instance, word of Biden's unscheduled conversation with Erdogan spread through Turkish media before an acknowledgement from the White House that a meeting had taken place.

The meeting was the first encounter between both heads of state after the bombing in downtown Istanbul on Sunday that killed six people, allegedly at the hand of a Syrian national with suspected links to Kurdish militants. At the time, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu blamed the U.S. because of its support for Syrian Kurdish groups.

The White House said in a statement Tuesday that Biden had "expressed his deep condolences to President Erdogan" and the people of Turkey "on the acts of violence in Istanbul and made clear we stand with our NATO Ally."

Earlier in the trip, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters the president has no plans to sit down with Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia – but that does rule out a scenario where Biden ends up speaking with the crown prince during one of the events.

The president was seen speaking to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who recently traveled to Beijing, French President Emmanuel Macron and India's Modi. Biden meet with with Xi on Monday evening in Bali.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Lavrov to the summit in his place. Biden is unlikely to talk to Lavrov, given the U.S. president's efforts to get G-20 nations to punish and isolate Russia.

What they are saying about Russia's war on Ukraine

After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed G-20 leaders virtually, Russia bombarded the country with missiles. U.S. officials said the strikes targeted residential buildings in Kyiv, the capital.

Zelenskyy said his country "should not be offered to conclude compromises with its conscience, sovereignty, territory and independence," according to Politico.

In response, Sullivan promised that the U.S. "will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes."

  • "It is not lost on us that, as world leaders meet at the G-20 in Bali to discuss the issues of significant importance to the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, Russia again threatens those lives and destroys Ukraine’s critical infrastructure," Sullivan said.

  • He added the strikes "will serve to only deepen the concerns among the G‑20 about the destabilizing impact of Putin’s war" and said the U.S. would "continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself."

  • An oil and gas cap on Russia will be hard to implement without out India and China, says Joseph Majkut, director of the energy security and climate change program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

  • "The effectiveness of that instrument rests on the participation of countries outside of the United States and the European Union," Majkut said.

  • Meanwhile, in Washington, Republican lawmakers who could lead powerful committees are promising "oversight and accountability" for Ukrainian aid.

  • "I think the taxpayers deserve that," said Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the prospective chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "But that doesn't mean that we were going to cut and run on Ukrainians."

Why Biden's meeting with Erdogan matters

Turkey has been essential to maintaining a deal with Russia to export grain from Ukraine to prevent a global hunger crisis.

"President Biden expressed his appreciation to President Erdogan for his efforts to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which they both agreed has been critical to improving global food security amid Russia’s war and that the Initiative must continue," the White House said in a statement after their meeting.

The two leaders also discussed Turkey's efforts to slow-walk an expansion of the NATO security alliance, the White House's statement signaled.

"The two also discussed continued close coordination on NATO Alliance issues, and other issues of regional and global concern," it said.

Turkey has been blocking NATO membership for Sweden and Finland for several months. Erdogan agreed to allow the nations to join in June but has since withheld his support. Turkey wants the nations to extradite Kurdish militants it suspects of terrorism.

What to know more? Here's what you missed: 

Key moment: 'The US is ready to play': President Biden presses China's Xi to find 'ways to work together'

Xi Summit: Biden aims to rekindle relationship with China’s Xi during summit in Indonesia

Biden's agenda: On whirlwind trip across the globe, Biden addresses climate change, heads to Asia to meet with heads of state

New alliances: Biden works to shore up friendships with Asian countries on Cambodia trip

What's at stake: Is Biden ready for G20 sparring session? Foreign rivals, tensions await president in Bali.

COP 27: Biden takes climate victory lap in Egypt. To some countries, US is doing too little, too late.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Biden pushes nations at G20 summit to take harder line on Russia

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