Ukraine is calling its two-day peace summit in Saudi Arabia a win.
With 42 countries – excluding Russia – participating in the Kyiv-led summit, there’s a lot of support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace plans, the head of the Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, said.
"We have a close relationship. We call each other bros,” Yermak told reporters in Kyiv on Monday, Aug 7.
However, it wasn’t clear whether Yermak was referring to every country at the conference. In attendance were four members of the influential BRICS bloc, which, besides Russia, includes Brazil, India, China and South Africa. All have maintained relations with the Kremlin to varying extents since Moscow’s full-scale invasion.
Having China and other less-supportive countries from the Global South participate in Ukraine’s peace conference was a diplomatic win for Kyiv. What’s more, Beijing has expressed interest in participating in the next organizational summit, which could take place in some months, Yermak said.
The organizational summits are all for the purpose of eventually organizing a greater Peace Summit with world leaders. It is not yet known when this would happen, but Zelensky’s team is hopeful it will be before the end of the year.
“After that, the leaders of the states can give the green light to holding separate international conferences and summits dedicated to each of the points of the Peace Formula,” Yermak said.
Point 7 of Zelensky’s peace plan - how Russia and who in Russian leadership should be held responsible for violating international law in its invasion of Ukraine remains a question.
“There is an ongoing discussion about what the tribunal should be,” Yermak said.
Yermak said that Ukraine will do everything it can to ensure that the text of Zelensky’s 10-step-peace formula doesn’t change, as it was created “taking into account the wishes of international partners.”
Despite ongoing discussions, Yermak called the atmosphere of the advisers' meeting in Jeddah friendly.
Answering journalists' questions about whether Zelensky's peace plan is an alternative to international platforms like the United Nations, Yermak said that the Ukrainian team "does not want to destroy what is."
Deputy Head of the Office of the President for International Affairs Andrii Sybiha said that the Ukrainian initiative “does the work on humanitarian issues that should be done by international organizations.”
“The meeting in Saudi Arabia is a rehearsal for a world in which there is no place for aggression,” Yermak said.
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