By Arab News
Ukraine and its allies rallied global support on Thursday for a peace blueprint that will be discussed in talks hosted by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah this weekend.
Diplomats hope the meeting on August 5 and 6 of national security advisers and other senior officials from about 40 countries will agree on key principles to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainian diplomats in a speech published on the president’s website that the initiative would be a stepping stone toward a peace summit of world leaders this autumn to endorse the principles based on his own 10-point formula for a peace settlement.
“We are working on making it happen this fall,” he said. “Autumn is very soon, but there is still time to prepare for the summit and involve most of the world’s countries.”
There is no prospect of direct peace talks between Ukraine and Russia at the moment, as the war continues to rage and Kyiv seeks to reclaim territory through a counter-offensive. Instead, Ukraine aims to first build a bigger coalition of diplomatic support for its vision of peace beyond its core group of Western backers by involving Global South countries such as India, Brazil, South Africa and Turkiye.
“One of the main aims of this round of negotiations will be to finally fix a common understanding of what the 10 points are about,” Ihor Zhovkva, Zelensky’s chief diplomatic adviser, said on Thursday.
The 10 points include calls for the full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, a full withdrawal of Russian troops, the protection of food and energy supplies, nuclear safety and the release of all prisoners.
But Western officials concede the initiative can put only limited pressure on Moscow without China, which has maintained close economic and diplomatic ties with Russia and rejected international calls to condemn the invasion.
It was unclear on Thursday whether China would take part in the Jeddah talks. Beijing was invited to a previous meeting in Copenhagen in late June but did not attend.
“I do think it’s critical that not just India, Brazil, and other key partners are participating but also that China is sitting at the table and actually talking peace,” said a senior European Commission official.
Saudi Arabia is keen to play a prominent diplomatic role in efforts to resolve the conflict. Zelensky attended the Arab League summit in Jeddah in May, when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his readiness to mediate.
The Kingdom “reached into parts of the world where Ukraine’s classical allies would not get to so easily,” another EU official said.