U.S. to Skip G-20 Finance Chiefs’ Meeting If Russia Takes Part

(Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said U.S. officials wouldn’t take part in some Group of 20 meetings this year in which Russia is allowed to participate, though a spokesperson later clarified that she was referring to a gathering of finance ministers this month.

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“I’ve made clear to my colleagues in Indonesia that we will not be participating in a number of meetings if the Russians are there,” Yellen told lawmakers Wednesday as she testified before the House Financial Services Committee.

A Treasury spokesperson subsequently said Yellen’s comment was in reference to a meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors scheduled for April 20 in Washington.

Indonesia is host country this year for the G-20, which groups the largest developed and emerging markets. The summit of leaders is scheduled to take place in Bali in November, and officials are preparing for various scenarios in case Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to turn up.

President Joe Biden said last month that Russia should be expelled from the G-20, though members like China are likely to balk at a move that requires consensus to enact.

G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet several times a year, typically in a host country that rotates annually. The April session is planned to take place on the sidelines of IMF-World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

The Treasury chief said that Washington has made clear that it cannot be “business as usual” for Russia in any of the international financial institutions it’s a member of — given its invasion of Ukraine.

Yellen was asked whether the Biden administration would push for the removal of Russia from the G-20, along with other international bodies including the Financial Action Task Force and the Financial Services Board.

(Updates with comment from Treasury spokesperson in third paragraph.)

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