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Date for Swiss-proposed Ukraine peace talks revealed

Russia has described the event as “pointless”

A Swiss-proposed peace conference on the Ukraine conflict will take place on June 15-16, a statement from Bern announced on Thursday. It added that more than 160 delegations from around the world have been invited to take part, although Russian diplomats are not among them.

The Swiss government revealed plans in February to host a major peace summit “by the summer,” but did not offer specific dates at the time. In its latest statement, Bern said Moscow had not been invited to join “at this stage.” 

Moscow has previously called the proposed conference “pointless” and said it would not participate, even if invited. Ukraine has indicated that Russia would only be invited if it agreed to a litany of preconditions which Moscow has branded as “absurd.” 

According to the Swiss government, the purpose of the ‘Peace in Ukraine’ summit is to develop a common understanding of a path towards a “just and lasting peace.” Posting on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, Swiss President Viola Amherd wrote that “Global collaboration is key to shape a peaceful future.” 

“Let’s advance dialogue based on the UN Charter towards a #PathToPeace,” she said, adding that the event will be held at the Burgenstock resort near Lucerne.

The delegations invited to the summit include members of the G7, G20, BRICS, the EU, international organizations, and two religious representatives, according to Bern.

The talks also aim to create a roadmap for Russia’s participation in the process, the statement said. Moscow has not ruled out engagement with Kiev, but has signaled it has no intention of attending the Swiss conference.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last month the forum as envisaged would be dedicated to the promotion of the ‘Zelensky peace formula,’ which Moscow has panned as unrealistic.

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova © Sputnik
Russia says no to Switzerland ‘peace conference’

Ukraine insists that peace can only be negotiated on President Vladimir Zelensky’s terms, which include the withdrawal of Russian forces from what Kiev regards as “illegally occupied” territory.

Moscow has rejected the demands as a non-starter, stressing that it will not surrender Crimea or four other former Ukrainian regions that joined Russia after holding referendums. Negotiations between Moscow and Kiev effectively broke down in the spring of 2022, with both sides accusing each other of making unrealistic demands.

Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently said that Ukrainian negotiators had agreed to some of Moscow’s terms, only to abruptly renege on the deal. Kiev’s lead negotiator, David Arakhamia, revealed in November 2023 that his team’s main goal was to “buy time” for the Ukrainian military.

The Kremlin has said it remains open to discussions, but only if Kiev recognizes the “reality on the ground.”

May 02, 2024 at 07:59PM

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