SYDNEY — Australia’s foreign minister will try to persuade G20 leaders to exclude Russian President Vladimir Putin from its summit in Brisbane over his actions in Ukraine.
Australia, which hosts the G20 summit in November, could not make the decision on Putin unilaterally, Trade Minister Andrew Robb told broadcaster ABC.
“So Julie Bishop and David Johnston, our defence minister, will be canvassing in Wales, at the Nato meeting at the end of this week with other members of the G20 countries,” Robb said.
“I think increasingly people are taking a very concerned view about his presence.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday said Australia would expand its sanctions on Russia, in line with those imposed by the European Union.
The new measures include halting the export of mineral and energy services to Russia, financial transactions involving state banks and travel bans on 63 more officials and business owners with ties to Putin.
Robb told ABC the sanctions were intended to signal severe consequences “if Russia continues to violate international law and continues to aggressively put troops into Ukraine.”
Australia toughened its stance on Russia after a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 298 people, including 38 Australians, was shot down in eastern Ukraine six weeks ago.
Australia sent experts and police to Ukraine as part of a Dutch-led mission to recover the remains of the victims, but the conflict hampered their work.
The Abbott government called for an international probe into the downing of flight MH17 and accused Putin of preventing access to the crash site.
On Friday, the first bodies of Australian victims that were recovered and identified were flown back for burial.
Nato will discuss its response to the Ukraine situation at the summit in the Welsh town of Newport on Thursday.
The 28-member military alliance is expected to grant Australia membership of its Enhanced Parnership Programme at the summit, The Australian reported yesterday.
The move would mean greater access to Nato planning and decision making for the Australian Defence Force, the newspaper said. — Sapa