Ukraine summit fails to provide coherent path to peace

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky makes his peace pitch to a limited audience in Switzerland, June 15, 2024. Image: Office of the President of Ukraine
Published June 19, 2024

Swiss summit was lightly attended and produced lackluster results while alternative China-Brazil peace proposal gains momentum

Was the first so-called “Summit on Peace in Ukraine”, held in Switzerland on June 15 to 16, a failure? Certainly not, if you listen to the fairly upbeat reactions of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Western backers. And, to be fair, the summit has enabled Zelensky to keep Russia’s war against Ukraine high on the international agenda.

But by most other counts, the outcome of the summit was disappointing. International participation was lackluster, with only 92 of the reportedly invited 160 states and international organizations turning up. The final communique fell short of expectations in terms of content and signatories.

All this raises serious questions about the future of a peace process that excludes Russia. It also lacks buy-in from China, which was absent in Switzerland, and from other key countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. These all attended but did not sign up to the final communique.

Agenda limited

On the agenda were three issues addressed in the Ukrainian president’s 2022 peace plan: nuclear safety, food security and humanitarian issues. But the final communique did not reference Zelensky’s plan, let alone his core demand for a complete withdrawal of Russian troops, and only attracted the support of 84 of the delegations attending. Perhaps even more importantly, no agreement was reached on when to hold a follow-up meeting.

One of the problems is likely to have been the insistence by Kiev and its Western allies that Zelensky’s was the only peace plan on the table. By default, this prevented any discussion of at least seven other third-party proposals.



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RELATED: Zelensky seeks internationally agreed peace plan

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at Malacañan on June 3, 2024.
Published June 19, 2024

BUERGENSTOCK – As world leaders lined up to offer their support at a summit for peace in Ukraine on June 15, President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced hope of garnering international agreement around a proposal to end the war that he could present to Moscow.

More than two years after Russia invaded, leaders and senior officials from more than 90 states gathered in a Swiss mountainside resort for a two-day summit dedicated to Kyiv’s plan to end the largest European conflict since World War II.

Most voiced strong support for Ukraine, demanding a “just peace.”

Others, however, criticized Moscow’s exclusion and warned Kyiv it would need to compromise if it wanted to end the war.

In his opening remarks, Zelensky told the assembly: “We must decide together what a just peace means for the world and how it can be achieved in a lasting way.

“Then it will be communicated to the representatives of Russia, so that at the second peace summit we can fix the real end of the war.”




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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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