Peace Summit in Switzerland: key statements 

The Global Peace Summit, held in Bürgenstock, Switzerland, on June 15–16, 2024, has been at the focus of world news and geopolitics this week.

The summit’s opening was marked by statements from many international leaders. The gathering included representatives from Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, demonstrating global concern for Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Notably, Russia and China were absent from the summit, highlighting the geopolitical tensions surrounding the event.

Key statements from summit participants

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky underscored the importance of the summit in laying the groundwork for a just and lasting peace. He stated, “If Russia were interested in peace, there would be no war. We must collectively define what just peace means and how to achieve it sustainably. The UN Charter is our foundation.” 

Zelensky highlighted the need for a comprehensive action plan, which will be presented to Russia at a future peace summit.

Swiss President Viola Amherd highlighted the summit’s role in preparing the ground for direct negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. She stated, “The erosion of respect for international law harms everyone in the long term. If we aim for peace, Russia will eventually need to be involved in the process.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reiterated the EU’s unwavering support for Ukraine. She emphasized the comprehensive sanctions against Russia and the significant financial and military aid provided to Ukraine. 

Von der Leyen stated, “Freezing the conflict today, when foreign troops are occupying Ukrainian land, is not the answer. De facto, it is a recipe for further aggressive war. Instead, we must support a comprehensive, just, and sustainable peace for Ukraine.” 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte reiterated the necessity of Russia’s involvement in future peace negotiations, though they criticized current Russian conditions as unrealistic and unserious. 

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné condemned Russia’s increased provocations against NATO members, expressing solidarity with affected countries.

Argentine President Javier Milei attended the summit, countering previous reports, widely supported by Russian propaganda media, of his absence. Chilean President Gabriel Boric affirmed his support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity. 

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo highlighted the severe impact of the war on Africa, particularly regarding food security due to the Black Sea blockade by the Russian Federation.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud expressed hope that the summit would pave the way for conflict resolution, emphasizing humanitarian aid to Ukraine. 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stressed that peace must be based on international law and warned against justifying unilateral changes in borders.

Invitation of Russia to the next peace summit

Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, confirmed that participating countries could invite Russia to the next peace summit if they agreed on a consensus plan. He stressed that Russia’s participation would be contingent on its acceptance of the agreed principles for a just peace.

The absence of Russia and China highlights the existing geopolitical rifts and the challenges of achieving a unified approach to peace and halting the Russia-Ukraine war. 

Importance of peace summits

The Global Peace Summit in Switzerland has highlighted the urgent need for a coordinated international effort to address Russia’s war in Ukraine. The summit’s focus on energy security, maritime safety, and humanitarian issues reflects the broader impacts of the war beyond Ukraine and the Eastern Europe and Black Sea regions.

For Ukraine, the summit represents a critical step towards international solidarity and support. The active engagement of global leaders and their commitment to a structured peace process offer hope for a sustainable resolution to the devastating war.

For the European Union, the summit’s outcomes reinforce the need for a cohesive foreign policy that addresses security and humanitarian challenges. The emphasis on maintaining the principles of international law and territorial integrity aligns with the EU’s broader strategic objectives.

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