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24 May, 2024 13:37

Biden to shun Zelensky ‘peace conference’ – Bloomberg

The US president will reportedly hobnob with Hollywood celebrities instead of attending the Swiss summit
Biden to shun Zelensky ‘peace conference’ – Bloomberg

US President Joe Biden will skip the peace summit promoted by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky in Switzerland next month. Biden has chosen to attend a fundraising event in Los Angeles with George Clooney and Julia Roberts instead, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The Ukraine conference is scheduled to take place on June 15-16 at the Burgenstock Resort near Lucerne. However, Biden is scheduled to attend the fundraiser on June 15, and will travel straight to Los Angeles from the G7 summit in Italy that day, the news outlet reported, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

Vice President Kamala Harris will not attend in Biden’s stead, Bloomberg added.

Despite being billed as a ‘peace conference’, the Swiss summit will not involve talks between Russia and Ukraine. Over 160 countries were invited to the meeting, with the notable exception of Russia.

Around 70 countries are expected to take part in the conference in some way, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among the heads of state confirming their attendance. 

China will not participate, however. Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Brazilian presidential adviser Celso Amorim published a joint letter on Thursday explaining that they would prefer a conference “held at a proper time that is recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation of all parties as well as fair discussion of all peace plans.”

Zelensky, whose mandate as president expired this week, will likely use the meeting to present his proposed roadmap for ending the conflict with Russia. The ten-point document demands a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from all territories Ukraine considers its own, for Moscow to pay reparations, and for Russian officials to face a war crimes tribunal.

Russia has dismissed the plan as “detached from reality.” Speaking to journalists earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that while Moscow is ready for serious talks, Kiev plans to “gather as many nations as possible, convince everyone that the best proposal is the terms of the Ukrainian side, and then send it to us in the form of an ultimatum.”

Zelensky told CNN last week that he wanted China to take part in the conference due to Beijing’s perceived “influence on Russia.”