Zelensky opens the summit in Switzerland: “First step towards a just peace”


By John

“Let’s give diplomacy a chance.” Volodymyr Zelensky, despite the military look of commander in chief, takes on the role of a man of peace at the Burgenstock in Lucerne. In the glamorous hotel of yesteryear – for 150 years it has hosted the world’s greats in full Swiss style, even if Qatar now owns it – the 101 delegations who accepted Bern’s invitation to participate in a sort of impossible mission parade. : Imagine how to silence the guns in Ukraine through negotiations.

But without Russia. An exercise in style, for some. Yet, never like at Burgenstock, the medium is the message: on the one hand Vladimir Putin who dictates anathemas, passing off the desert as peace, on the other the Ukrainian president, who asks the world to “contribute” to the solution. «Latin America, Middle East and Asia, Africa, Europe, Pacific, Australia, North America: all present. Together we are taking the first step towards a just peace, based on the United Nations Charter and the fundamental principles of international law”, Zelensky made clear.

In theory it would be difficult to disagree but these values ​​include respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which Putin effectively wants to dismember. “All this is non-negotiable,” reiterated Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak.

But the work has just begun and the objective is to integrate the Ukrainian peace formula – which debuted at the G20 in Bali, when Russia and China went under the parliament of the world, having to swallow a joint statement in which they asked for an end to the war – with other ideas. “We are evaluating the possibility, once a joint plan is reached, of presenting it to representatives of Russia and we think that this could happen at the second peace summit,” Yermak added. Because, and it is clear to everyone, sooner or later Moscow will have to be involved.

The next stop could then be Saudi Arabia, where it is hypothesized that the new summit could be held. But this fact would require Russia’s acceptance of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter – including the territorial integrity of Ukraine, ed. – and therefore everything “is still in the high seas”, says a senior European official familiar with directly from the dossier. The Kremlin is against it.

“We don’t want to communicate any message, we want to gather next time for a more substantial and constructive event,” said Tsar spokesman Dmitri Peskov. But who knows, maybe the appetite doesn’t come through negotiation. “We will not be able to decree peace for Ukraine today but we hope to start the process,” said Viola Amherd, president of the Swiss Confederation. “As an international community we can prepare the ground for negotiations between the two warring sides.”

Of course, the appetizer doesn’t bode well. “If President Putin’s proposal is ‘we are willing to have a peace negotiation if Kiev recognizes the invasion of Ukraine and cede the occupied parts’ it does not seem particularly effective as a proposal, it seems to me to be a more propagandistic move than a real one,” he cut short Giorgia Meloni closing the G7. Bern has developed a route in stages. The Summit program includes both “plenary” sessions and discussions on the three themes that lend themselves “to building trust”, namely “nuclear safety, food safety and the humanitarian dimension”, including the “release of prisoners”.

«These are topics of global interest that directly concern a large number of states and which have been addressed in the various proposed peace plans», underline the organizers. Again, the objective is to create consensus, bring positions closer together. Which are sometimes very different from the chorus of the ‘Western fireplace.

The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia warns, for example, that “difficult compromises” will be necessary if peace is truly to be achieved, while the President of Kenya states that Moscow’s aggression is certainly “illegal” but “unilateral” is also illegal. appropriation of Russian sovereign assets” (and the conflicts in the Middle East, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa are equally terrible). In short, opening the microphone to the world – as Zelensky promised – has its contraindications.

The delegations are working to arrive at a joint statement, which at the moment appears “stable” although everyone’s signature is not yet certain. “Putin should move from the language of ultimatums to that of the world majority, which wants a just peace,” is Zelensky’s warning to the leaders. More than anything, he hopes so.