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Peace Summit in Switzerland. What Ukraine should expect from it

14 June, 2024 Friday
13:42

The Peace Summit in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, will be one of June's most significant diplomatic events, gathering world leaders to discuss the foundation for Ukraine's future peace

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  1. Who will come to the Peace Summit?
  2. What is planned to be discussed during the Peace Summit?
  3. What can Ukraine expect from the Peace Summit?

On June 15, a number of high-ranking officials from around the world will gather in Switzerland for the two-day Summit. Those who have been convinced of the importance of participating in the event and who have not paused their trip after certain changes in the upcoming negotiations.

Espreso explains who will participate in the Peace Summit, what is expected to be discussed at the event, and what Ukraine can expect.

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Who will come to the Peace Summit?

Statements about the number of participants have fluctuated around 100 countries since the first official data and confirmations were released. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 107 countries had confirmed their participation. On Monday, June 10, the Swiss government estimated that 90 states and organizations were expected to participate. But officials were still talking about the participation of 100 countries.

In particular, French President Emmanuel Macron had previously announced his participation, calling the Summit "an important step for early peace."

"I believe that the summit to be held in Switzerland will be an important step in building an early peace. I hope that participation will be as broad as possible," Macron emphasized.

The United Nations Secretariat also confirmed that the UN will be represented at the Peace Summit. However, Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq promised to say which UN representatives will travel to Switzerland before the event.

Meanwhile, Chinese representatives refused to attend this diplomatic event. This is despite the fact that at first, Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Wang Shihtin said that China was considering participating in the global peace summit organized by Switzerland at Ukrainian request.

Russia, on the other hand, did not receive an invitation to the event, as it has repeatedly publicly announced that it is not interested in participating in this first summit. Allegedly, this is why Saudi Arabia refused to attend: diplomatic circles in Riyadh said that the reason for the decision was allegedly that Russia would not be present. Switzerland, on the other hand, explained that it had not invited Russia "at this stage" but considered the peace process as a whole "unthinkable" without Russia's participation. 

At the same time, after the information about the change in the draft decision of the Peace Summit appeared, the number of countries planning to attend the event decreased. It became known that about 15 countries had "paused" their trip to Switzerland altogether. And according to Radio Liberty, which received anonymity from several EU diplomats, the number of countries and organizations that have confirmed their participation has dropped to 78. The interlocutors did not name the countries that had changed their minds about participating, but one of the diplomats did not rule out that the list could be expanded.

In addition, dozens of countries reported that they would downgrade from the presidential or prime ministerial level to the level of ministers or even deputies.

What is planned to be discussed during the Peace Summit?

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In early June, referring to a draft document for future international negotiations, Bloomberg wrote that the Ukrainian Summit could become the basis for future talks with Russia. 

According to Ukraine's initial idea, the participants of the Summit from different countries were supposed to discuss the Zelenskyy formula together and create a plan for peace based on it. However, at some point, the entire discussion plan was reduced to three issues.

Then President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy outlined three points that would become the main topics of discussion at the Summit: nuclear energy security; food security; and the return of Ukrainian children captured and abducted by Russia.

According to him, these three points unite all countries. The President noted that many countries balancing between Russia and Ukraine say that there are difficult things that are impossible without Russia.

"We have pushed aside what could divide the countries and adopted only three points for the first summit," Zelenskyy emphasized.

In other words, it was about ensuring that nuclear energy facilities were safe, and that food security was also guaranteed, as it concerned not only Ukraine but also the countries to which Ukrainian products were imported. The third point outlined the need to return all prisoners to Ukraine, including children and civilians deported and abducted by Russia.

Along with these changes, it is not possible to talk about the final approval of this particular plan of meetings that will last for two days. The organizers can still make changes and amendments.

What can Ukraine expect from the Peace Summit?

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So far, this is an issue with many unknowns, as the agenda of the Summit is changing right before it starts. And there are no guarantees that the planned communiqué will not contain new changes by Saturday, June 15. However, the organizers, participating countries, and Ukraine itself have certain expectations for the event and emphasize its importance.

In particular, long before the event began, the Ukrainian president had been convinced that the Peace Summit in Switzerland would be a real chance to start restoring peace in Ukraine.

"This will be the first stage - in fact, the first real chance to start restoring a just peace," Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized in one of his addresses.

Moreover, the President considers the very fact that the Summit will be held in Switzerland to be a certain result for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized that the upcoming Global Peace Summit in Switzerland will not be a negotiation to end the war. To do so, the Chancellor believes that Putin must make it clear that he is ready to end his brutal military campaign and withdraw his troops.

"However, we may be able to show a way to start a process in which Russia will one day be sitting at the table," he said. "But as long as Putin ruthlessly pursues his goals in this war, our message will be this: we will not weaken our support for Ukraine, we will continue to stand firmly on the side of the Ukrainians.

The idea of the Summit as a first step towards a just peace is also discussed in his blog on the website of the European External Action Service by the EU's chief diplomat Josep Borrell, who will arrive in Switzerland in person. He is convinced that the event will help to develop an international platform for a just peace in Ukraine based on respect for the principles of the UN Charter.

"The impact of an aggressive war against Ukraine extends far beyond its borders. A protracted or frozen conflict will perpetuate instability and threaten global food security and economic stability," emphasizes Josep Borrell.

At the same time, some international publications, citing their experts, are already discussing the next summit, which is likely to be the second step and may already involve Russia, but this is only an assumption at this point.

In addition, China, which will not participate in the Peace Summit on Ukraine, is lobbying other governments with its vision of a possible peace plan, which may include the idea of a freeze on hostilities and the start of direct negotiations. 

"China sincerely hopes that the peace conference will not turn into a platform for creating a bloc confrontation. Not being present at it does not mean not supporting peace," Chinese representatives said of the event in Switzerland.

Instead, the official Ukrainian position is that only Ukraine, which is the injured party in this situation, has the right to propose plans for ending the war.

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