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Peace Summit on Ukraine: What countries refuse to attend and why

Peace Summit on Ukraine: What countries refuse to attend and why Photo: China and Saudi Arabia will not attend Peace Summit (Getty Images)

The first Peace Summit will take place on June 15-16 in the Swiss resort of Bürgenstock. As of today, 107 countries and international organizations have confirmed their participation, but at least two key countries of the Global South, which Ukraine was counting on, will ignore the summit.


China will not come because Russia was not invited

Two weeks ago, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the summit. He urged not to stay away from global efforts, and to show leadership in bringing peace, not a pause between strikes.

Ukraine was counting on Beijing to participate in the summit because it has great influence on Russia. Xi Jinping's visit was unrealistic from the very beginning, as he does not often attend international forums. But until recently, a Chinese delegation headed by Foreign Minister Wang Yi or another official was expected to attend.

Recently, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said that Beijing would ignore the summit. The reason is unfulfilled conditions. The Chinese side insisted that Russia would also be represented at the forum and that "all peace plans should be discussed faithfully."

"We will continue to promote peace and negotiations in our own way, maintain communication with all parties, and jointly create conditions for a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis," she added.

President Zelenskyy ruled out alternative summits. He also said that China had made a strategic mistake and that indirect support for Russia would only prolong the war.

In his opinion, it is normal not to support the Peace Summit, but disrupting it means supporting the war. "Doing everything to prevent some leaders from attending the peace summit, putting pressure on them, is definitely not bringing peace closer, and it is not only about supporting Russia, it is actually supporting the war," he said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded that Beijing has never "fanned or fueled the flames" of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Saudi Arabia is likely to stand in solidarity with China

Saudi Arabia is another country that claims to be a mediator in a peaceful settlement between Ukraine and Russia. In September 2022, it participated in one of the largest prisoner exchanges and the release of 215 defenders, including 108 Azov fighters.

In early August 2023, Saudi Arabia hosted an international summit at the level of political advisers with representatives from 40 countries. However, as expected, the meeting in Jeddah did not result in any breakthroughs in bringing peace to Ukraine. Nevertheless, Kyiv still counts on Riyadh's voice.

According to the German dpa, Zelenskyy was scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on Saturday, June 1. A diplomatic source said that the president wanted to enlist support before a forum in Switzerland and meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But in the end, the trip was postponed.

The day before, it became known that Saudi Arabia would not participate in the Peace Summit. The reason is allegedly that Russia will not be present at the forum. This information comes from dpa sources in diplomatic circles.

So far, there is no official confirmation from Riyadh.

Pakistan faces a diplomatic dilemma

Another invited country of the Global South is Pakistan. Islamabad received an invitation to such a conference on the Russian-Ukrainian war for the first time.

Last week, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zahra Baloch confirmed that participation in the summit was being considered. But, according to The Express Tribune sources, Pakistan is likely to skip it because of its policy of neutrality.

According to the sources, since Russia has not been invited to the summit, it may be useless. It is specified that the Pakistani delegation has not yet made the final decision on the trip.

Pakistan is guided by China on many international and regional issues. However, if Western countries persuaded Pakistan to participate in the summit, it would not be a big surprise, the media says.

In two years, Pakistan has never condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and abstained from voting on relevant UN resolutions several times. However, it sent humanitarian aid, and there were reports about allegedly secret supplies of ammunition. Official Kyiv and Islamabad denied the reports.

Hungary is still in question

As for Hungary, there have been no concrete signals of refusal. According to Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, Budapest has not yet decided because it does not consider the Russian-Ukrainian war to be "its" war, and Russia will not be present at the summit.

"If both sides of the war are not represented, I think it is a legitimate question whether the whole conference makes sense in terms of the ultimate goal, which is the pursuit of peace. Therefore, we believe that a peace conference has real meaning and gives the greatest hope for peace if both sides are sitting at the table," he said in an interview with Belarusian media.

According to him, Budapest has a different opinion, unlike European countries, which tend to consider the current war their own. He also said that Ukraine did not defend Europe.

Sources: statements by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, as well as articles by dpa and The Express Tribune.