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30 Jul, 2023 07:51

Saudi Arabia to host Ukraine talks without Russia – WSJ

The West is trying to consolidate international support for Kiev’s peace demands, diplomats told the outlet
Saudi Arabia to host Ukraine talks without Russia – WSJ

Saudi Arabia is set to host international peace talks on Ukraine next month involving the US, EU and countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America, diplomats have told the Wall Street Journal.

Russia is excluded from the gathering, which is being organized by the Western powers and Ukraine, the outlet reported on Saturday.

Some 30 countries have been invited to take part in the event in Jeddah on August 5 and 6. They include India, Brazil, Indonesia, Egypt, Mexico, Chile and Zambia, sources said. However, they added that it’s not yet clear how many nations will eventually send delegations to Saudi Arabia.

According to the diplomats, the UK, South Africa, Poland and the EU are among those who have already accepted the invitation. UN National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is expected to attend the event, a person familiar with the plans told the WSJ.

Saudi Arabia, which has good relations with China, was chosen as the venue partly in the hope of persuading Beijing to attend the talks, the report read. However, despite not ruling out the possibility completely, the Chinese are unlikely to travel to the meeting, the sources acknowledged.

The talks, which are a followup to a similar meeting that took place in Copenhagen, Denmark in late June, are an attempt by the West to “win support from major developing countries, many of which have been neutral over the Ukraine war” for Kiev’s peace demands, the WSJ wrote.

During the event in Copenhagen, the “developing country group [which included India and Brazil] made it clear they... wouldn’t sign onto Ukraine’s plan,” it added.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has for months been promoting his so-called ten-point “peace plan,” which among other things calls for Russia to withdraw its forces to borders claimed by Ukraine, to pay reparations, and to submit to war crime tribunals. Moscow has rejected those terms as unrealistic, saying they were actually a sign of Kiev’s unwillingness to engage in any meaningful dialogue.

The organizers of the talks in Jeddah expect that they’ll pave the way for a larger international peace summit later this year, where leaders would sign up to shared principles for resolving the crisis. The hope is that those principals would frame future peace talks between Moscow and Kiev to Ukraine’s advantage, the diplomats said.

During the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was confident that “all differences must be solved at the negotiating table.”

Moscow is willing to look for a diplomatic solution, but “the problem is that they are refusing to talk to us,” Putin said, referring to Ukraine and its US and NATO backers.

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