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China to shun Zelensky ‘peace conference’ – Reuters

Beijing has previously stated that it would support talks if both sides of the conflict are present

Beijing will not attend the Ukraine peace conference hosted by Switzerland in mid-June, Reuters reports, citing anonymous sources close to the matter. China reportedly declined the invitation because its conditions to take part were not met, including the participation of both Russia and Ukraine.

The conference is scheduled for June 15-16 at the Burgenstock Resort near Lucerne. More than 160 countries have been invited, including members of the G7, G20, BRICS, and the EU, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among the leaders confirming their attendance.

Moscow has not been invited, although it has said it would not attend even if it were, arguing that the summit will revolve around Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’. The ten-point initiative calls for Moscow to withdraw from all territory Kiev claims as its own and for a tribunal to be set up to prosecute Russian officials for alleged war crimes. Moscow has dismissed the initiative, calling it “detached from reality.”

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Beijing encourages all efforts leading to the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine conflict. China will “support an international peace 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,” she said. Beijing is ready to maintain discourse with the international community on pushing for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, the spokesperson added.

Last week, Zelensky said Russia must not be present at the summit because it could gain the support of other countries and hijack Kiev’s agenda. The participants should develop a plan without Russia, and then hand it over to Moscow via intermediaries, Zelensky insisted.

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Moscow says Switzerland is not fit to mediate in peace efforts, saying it switched “from neutral to openly hostile” after it took part in the sanctions on Russia in 2022.

“This conference is completely without prospects,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RT earlier this week, adding that “getting together and seriously discussing the Ukraine conflict without our [Russia’s] participation is absurd.”

Among other states, the leaders of several BRICS states – including Brazil and South Africa – will reportedly skip the event. US President Joe Biden is not scheduled to attend, instead focusing on the upcoming presidential election in November.

May 31, 2024 at 12:29PM

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