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Bloomberg: Secret peace talks involving Ukraine, G7, neutral countries failed to produce results

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 9, 2024 6:22 PM 2 min read
Presidential Office's Head Andrii Yermak meets foreign diplomats to discuss President Volodymyr Zelensky's ten-point peace formula on July 5, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes (The Presidential Office)
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Representatives from Ukraine, the Group of Seven (G7) countries, and other less explicitly aligned countries such as India and Saudi Arabia, held secret peace talks in Riyadh in December, Bloomberg reported on Jan. 9, citing unnamed officials familiar with the meeting.

The talks failed to produce meaningful results, but are representative of the efforts by Ukraine and its allies to draw countries outside of the West into backing Ukraine's peace formula.

The 10-point peace plan calls for an end to ecocide in Ukraine, punishing those responsible for war crimes, withdrawing all Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine, restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity, and the release of all prisoners of war and deportees. The proposals also call for ensuring energy security, food security, and nuclear safety.

The New York Times reported in late December that Putin was supposedly signaling behind closed doors that Russia would be open to a ceasefire along the current frontline. Ukrainian and Western leaders have repeatedly said that they do not believe Russia is interested in good-faith peace negotiations and has not abandoned its maximalist war goals.

Aside from the G7 countries, representatives from India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey attended. Other key players such as China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Brazil, were invited to the secret meeting but did not send anyone, sources said. Brazil sent only a written statement.

Russia was not invited.

While Ukraine's Western allies have largely remained steadfast in their support, countries in the global south have mostly refrained from taking a side in the conflict and have in some cases increased their ties with Russia.

India in particular has continued to keep dialogue open with both Ukraine and Russia, while declining from openly condemning the full-scale invasion or contributing to Russia's isolation.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries have been courted by both sides. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited both countries in December 2023, his first trip to the region since 2019.

Zelensky traveled to Saudi Arabia for the first time in May, meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and appealing to Arab leaders to support Ukraine's peace plan.

Since Saudi Arabia hosted a summit on Ukraine's 10-point peace formula in August, President Volodymyr Zelensky has held a call with the crown prince on a near-monthly basis.

The fourth meeting on Ukraine's peace formula is scheduled to be held ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos from Jan. 15-19.

Kuleba: Allies not pushing Ukraine to start talks on freezing war
“Our allies are not asking us to start talks with Russia in order to freeze the war - neither when we meet (Western) delegations nor at closed meetings,” he said. “Those who suggest a frozen conflict argue that they are acting in the best interests of Ukraine and the world, but in reality they are h…
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