June 16, 2024

Swiss summit on Ukraine set to thrash out path to peace

Switzerland has planned to stage a conference on Ukraine this coming weekend, with world leaders set to discuss how to reach an eventual peace process.

The gathering comes immediately after the G7 summit in southern Italy, running from Thursday to Saturday, during which the wealthy democracies will also discuss Ukraine in the presence of its president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The G7 will look at ways to use frozen Russian assets to provide fresh aid to Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia in February 2022.

Zelensky will then head to Switzerland, to be joined by G7 and other leaders for the summit.

What is billed as the first “Summit on Peace in Ukraine” will take place at the luxury Burgenstock resort on a mountain ridge overlooking Lake Lucerne.

French President Emmanuel Macron, US Vice President Kamala Harris, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are among those so far confirmed to be attending.

The aim “is to inspire a future peace process and to develop practical elements as well as steps towards such a process”, the Swiss foreign ministry said.

“All states present at the summit should contribute their ideas and visions for a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.”

Swiss President Viola Amherd, set to hold a press conference on preparations later on Monday, characterised it as a “first step” in a process towards a lasting peace.

Switzerland invited more than 160 delegations, including countries at heads of state and government level, and international organisations.

Bern says more than 80 confirmations have been received so far, mostly from Europe.

Organised at Ukraine’s request, the outcome of the conference remains uncertain, even if Switzerland is working hard to strike a potential final declaration.

“It is very important to avoid exaggerated expectations,” a German government source stressed, calling it a “building block for a peaceful settlement of this conflict”.

“But there will be further building blocks,” the source added.

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