Kyiv’s territorial integrity must be basis of any peace: Summit

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Buergenstock: Eighty-four countries called Sunday for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s two-year war, though some key developing nations at a Swiss conference did not join in – and the way forward for diplomacy remains unclear.
Over 90 countries attended the two-day talks at a Swiss Alpine resort at the behest of Ukrainian Prez Volodymyr Zelensky, billed as a “peace summit” even though Moscow was not invited.A decision by China to stay away all but assured that the summit would fail to achieve Ukraine’s goal of persuading major countries from the “global South” to join in isolating Russia. Brazil attended only as an “observer”. India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa all withheld their signatures from the summit communique, even though some contentious issues were omitted in the hope of drawing wider support.
Still, the conference provided Kyiv with a chance to showcase the support from Western allies that it says it needs to keep fighting against a far bigger enemy. Leaders including US vice-president Kamala Harris, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French Prez Macron gathered at the mountaintop resort of Buergenstock. US Prez Biden did not attend despite invitations from Zelensky.
In the absence of a clear path to ending the war, Zelensky emphasised practical issues, such as securing food supplies and nuclear safety. Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain exporters, has thwarted a blockade of its Black Sea ports, and also wants to build consensus around safety at a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant. In her closing remarks, Swiss Prez Viola Amherd warned that the “road ahead is long and challenging”.
Russia, as it has for weeks, mocked the gathering. “None of the participants in the ‘peace forum’ knows what he is doing there and what his role is,” said Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council.
The final document said the UN Charter and “respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty … can and will serve as a basis for achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine.” It also called for Ukraine’s control over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and its Azov Sea ports to be restored. But it omitted tougher issues of what a post-war settlement for Ukraine might look like, whether Ukraine could join Nato alliance or how troop withdrawals from both sides might work. No country came forward to host another such meeting, with notable silence from Saudi Arabia, mooted as a possible future venue.
Moscow has demanded recognition of its rule over territory its forces captured. Western leaders at the summit endorsed Kyiv’s refusal to negotiate under such terms. “Confusing peace with subjugation would set a dangerous precedent for everyone,” said Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

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