Saudi Arabia hosts talks on Ukraine peace blueprint
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Saudi Arabia hosts talks on Ukraine peace blueprint

Saudi Arabia hosts talks on Ukraine peace blueprint

The kingdom is increasingly trying to position itself as a diplomatic powerhouse and has said it wants to mediate between Ukraine and Russia

Gulf Business
Ukraine peace blueprint in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will seek to boost efforts by Ukraine and its allies to win support from the so-called global south by hosting talks in Jeddah on August 5 and 6

The Saudi government has invited national security and diplomatic advisers from Ukraine, several of Kyiv’s key allies, and others in the Group of 20 such as India, Brazil, and China, according to a person familiar with the matter. More than two dozen nations have been asked to attend, the person said, also including Turkey, Japan, the UK, South Africa, and the European Union. Russia has not been invited.

The biggest developing economies have so far remained mostly neutral in the face of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the US and the EU have been trying to persuade those countries not to offer President Vladimir Putin help.

Ukraine peace talks in Jeddah

The meeting, which follows a similar gathering in Copenhagen in June, is expected to discuss Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s peace formula and the Ukrainian president’s effort to hold a global summit on the proposals later this year. China was invited to the meeting in Denmark but didn’t attend.

Zelenskiy’s 10-point blueprint calls for Russian troops to withdraw completely from Ukraine, release all prisoners and deportees and ensure food and energy security. It would also include security guarantees for Ukraine once the fighting is ended and restore safety around the occupied nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, which the Ukrainian president says is at risk.

The final list of attendees for the meeting has yet to be finalised and could change. The gathering was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Kyiv’s key allies are trying to establish broad-based support for Zelenskiy’s proposal ahead of any potential peace summit. Engagement with the global south was a key goal of a Group of Seven summit that took place in Japan in May, where Zelenskiy also met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Zelenskiy’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak said Sunday that Ukraine is discussing its blueprint with more than 50 countries and aims to agree on draft language that can be considered by national leaders before the end of the year.

Beijing and others have also pitched their own proposals and diplomatic initiatives to end the conflict, though these are ambivalent on Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine. Putin has shown little interest so far in serious talks premised on the idea of his troops leaving Ukraine.

Saudi Arabia – Russia ties

Saudi Arabia has maintained strong ties with Russia and sees Moscow as a crucial ally in balancing the global oil market. The two countries together head the OPEC+ alliance of producers.

At the same time, under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom is increasingly trying to position itself as a diplomatic powerhouse and has said it wants to mediate between Ukraine and Russia.

In May, it hosted Zelenskiy at an Arab summit, also in Jeddah. Earlier in the year, Riyadh’s foreign minister visited Kyiv, where he pledged $400m of humanitarian support for Ukraine. Saudi Arabia also helped broker prisoner swaps between the two countries last year.

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