A report by Bloomberg on Monday, May 27 suggests that EU nations are concerned the peace plan proposed by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is running out of steam. There are indications that a number of those viewed as the most important of the 160 nations invited to the June 15 summit in Berne, Switzerland will not attend or will only send junior officials.

While still feeling that Ukraine’s proposals should be the basis for peace talks many are coming round to the view that the only way forward is to include Russia directly in the process. Moscow has frequently stated it is prepared to discuss peace but is not interested in the Zelensky plan and that peace can only be negotiated on the “basis of current realities” – which most interpret as a refusal to give up the Ukrainian territories it currently occupies.

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The situation is further complicated by a proposal put forward by China and Brazil last week to hold “an international peace conference at an appropriate time, recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation by all parties, and fair discussion of all peace plans,” according to a report in the Moscow Times.

The news that US President Biden would not attend the Swiss summit, China and India have said would only send relatively junior delegations, and refusals to attend voiced by Brazil and South Africa has caused concern that the consensus that had seemed to have been reached during previous summits is in danger of breaking down particularly among nations of the Global South.

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According to Bloomberg it is being strongly signaled that at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers a plan would be put forward to hold a further conference in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the fall to which Russia would be invited with the hope of building on the success of two previous meetings held in the kingdom.

The conference held in Jeddah in August 2023 was considered the most successful of the attempts to find a peace formula so far. It was attended by the national security advisers of 42 countries, including all of Russia's BRICS partners, with the Chinese delegation headed by Li Hui, appointed as Xi Jinping’s special envoy for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine.

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It was felt that it had resulted in broad support for Ukraine’s 2022 10-point peace formula particularly in relation to the idea of ​​retaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

In December 2023, a separate meeting involving representatives of the United States, G7 countries, Ukraine, India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey was held in Riyadh, which also reportedly saw progress in some key areas of discussion.

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