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Ukraine tackles peace talks with top countries

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and Latvia’s President Edgars

National security advisers from 83 countries assembled in Davos on Sunday, January 14, to discuss Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan outlining terms for concluding the conflict with Russia.

This marks the fourth assembly arranged by Ukraine in line with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s plan, urging Russia’s full withdrawal from all Ukrainian territories. The meeting in Davos saw participation from 83 delegations, including 18 from Asia and 12 from Africa, a notable increase from the 65 that attended the previous round of talks in Malta in October. Copenhagen and Jeddah hosted the two earlier meetings.

Security representatives from emerging economies like Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa participated in the discussions. These nations, along with China and Russia, form part of the BRICS alliance.

Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis, who co-hosted the Davos talks, commended the participants, emphasizing their potentially significant role in the negotiations.

“The participation of the BRICS alliance is very important because these countries have a relationship with Russia. … All this can create this collective movement to bring in countries that are far from the conflict but can play a role in influencing China and Russia,” Cassis said.

Cassis, however, noted China’s absence from the talks.

“China plays a significant role. We must find ways to work with China on this,” he added, in remarks to reporters partway through the talks.

Ukraine’s leading representative emphasized the necessity of China’s participation in discussions to resolve the conflict with Russia, following a diplomatic meeting before the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, stated on Sunday that having China, a key ally of Russia, involved in future talks on Kyiv’s peace proposal was crucial.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang will lead a delegation in Davos this week. When asked about a potential meeting between President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Li, Yermak stated “let’s see,” noting he had not yet seen the Ukrainian president’s final schedule.

It remains uncertain whether the BRICS participants align with Zelenskyy’s peace plan, which advocates for Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukrainian territories, accountability for war crimes, and the return of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia was uninvited to the meeting, currently overseeing slightly under one-fifth of Ukrainian territory. Moscow has rejected Kyiv’s “peace formula,” deeming it absurd as Ukraine seeks a resolution without Russian involvement. Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska suggested on Sunday that achieving peace between Ukraine and Russia is unlikely until at least May 2025.


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