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WSJ: Saudi Arabia to host Ukraine peace talks, without Russia, in August

by Asami Terajima July 29, 2023 10:56 PM 2 min read
Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, arrives at the G20 summit on Nov. 25, 2022. (Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Saudi Arabia is due to host peace talks on Aug. 5 and 6, inviting top officials from 30 countries, including India, Brazil, and Western nations, the Wall Street Journal reported on July 29, citing unnamed diplomats involved in the discussion.

Russia won't be attending the summit, and China's presence is unlikely, according to the report. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan's attendance is expected, a person familiar with the organization of the event told the WSJ. There was no confirmation yet from the National Security Council, it added.

Instead, the large-scale event is set to be held in the port city of Jeddah "to consolidate international support for Ukraine’s peace demands," the WSJ said.

It's not clear which countries will attend the summit yet. According to the WSJ, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine have chosen 30 invitees, which include Egypt, Mexico, Indonesia, Chile, and Zambia. Some countries, such as the U.K., South Africa, Poland, and the EU have already confirmed their attendance, it added.

The summit comes as Russia and the West battle over the support of developing countries, which have mostly stayed neutral throughout Russia's 16-month-old full-scale war against Ukraine.

Ukraine has also been pushing to win the support of developing nations. President Volodymyr Zelensky attended the summit of the Arab League in Saudi Arabia in May, calling on the Arab leaders, many of whom remain neutral or maintain a close relationship with Moscow, to support his peace plan to end Russia's all-out war.

Earlier in 2023, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan visited Kyiv in February and announced $400 million in humanitarian aid.

Saudi Arabia has played an important role in negotiating prisoner exchanges with Russia, allowing Ukraine to achieve a major exchange involving nearly 300 people – including commanders who were trapped in the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol – in September 2022.

Why Ukraine chooses to negotiate on the battlefield, not at peace talks
When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed his 10-point peace plan to G20 leaders in Bali on Nov. 15, he had only recently returned from a historic visit to Kherson, the liberation of which marks another great step towards the return of all Russian-occupied territory. Touching on factors…

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