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Sobering results after two-day Ukraine peace summit ends

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The Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland concluded with mixed results, as only 80 of the 93 participating states approved the final declaration at the close of the two-day event on Sunday.

Six countries from the G20 group of the world’s most important economic powers – Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, India and Indonesia – did not back the communiqué, according to a list published by the Swiss hosts.

The declaration, spanning just over two pages, condemns the threat of nuclear weapons, calls for the return of abducted Ukrainian children, and demands unhindered grain exports from Ukraine.

The final declaration does not specify plans for a follow-up conference but emphasizes the need for dialogue with Russia to create peace.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke of a second summit within months, with several countries expressing interest in hosting it. Saudi Arabia is considered a leading candidate.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed that Russia’s participation would require its commitment to the UN Charter.

Armenia, Bahrain, Thailand, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Colombia and the Vatican also did not back the document released at the Bürgenstock mountain hotel resort near Lucerne.

Brazil, India, South Africa and the UAE are united with Russia in the so-called BRICS group and maintain a friendly relationship with Russia despite its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The draft of the final declaration took this into account and did not explicitly condemn Moscow for its actions nor call for its withdrawal from Ukraine.

Instead, it recalls the Charter of the United Nations: “In particular, we reaffirm our commitment to refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” the text reads.

The principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine, must be respected, it stated.

The signatories also favour protecting the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya, which is occupied by Russia, and agree that any threat to use nuclear weapons should be condemned.

They also call for unhindered grain exports from Ukraine, which are particularly important for impoverished countries.

The declaration also advocates the exchange of prisoners of war and the return of children and other civilians abducted from Ukraine to Russia.

Earlier in the day, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer anticipated an incomplete backing of the document, while downplaying the significance of this.

This was only because of its exact wording, according to Nehammer, rather than reflecting a lack of support for efforts to broker peace in Ukraine.

The basic common position would not be affected, he said: “That’s why I’m not so worried if not everyone signs now.”

According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the conference as such brought significant progress.

Kuleba said that all countries that were not present were also aware of the impetus provided by the meeting. Overall, the process that has been initiated is very welcome, he said: “We are on the right track.”

Swiss President Viola Amherd acknowledged the diverse perspectives at the conference but emphasized that it marked the first high-level discussion on a peace process. Some substantive prerequisites for a path to an end to the war in Ukraine had been created, she said.

The event aimed to initiate a peace process in which Russia would also be involved in the long term. Officials from Moscow were not invited on this occasion and did not express a wish to attend.

The summit was also an attempt by the West to involve other countries in South America, Asia and Africa in peace efforts based on international law. Ukraine is calling for a “just and lasting” peace.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends the closing press conference of the Summit on peace in Ukraine. -/Ukraine Presidency/dpa

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky attends the closing press conference of the Summit on peace in Ukraine. -/Ukraine Presidency/dpa

(L-R) Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Swiss Federal President Viola Amherd, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, Chile's President Gabriel Boric and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend the closing press conference of the Summit on peace in Ukraine. -/Ukraine Presidency/dpa

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