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Ukraine peace talks: 50 countries have confirmed participation

The meeting will be held on June 15 and 16 at the five-star Bürgenstock hotel above Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland.
The Ukraine peace conference will be held on June 15 and 16 at the five-star Bürgenstock hotel above Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland. © Keystone / Michael Buholzer

To date, 50 countries out 160 invited delegations have confirmed they will attend the Ukraine peace conference, due to be held in central Switzerland in mid-June, according to Swiss public radio, RTS.

The meeting will take place on June 15 and 16 at the five-star Bürgenstock Hotel above Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland.

“We are preparing intensely at the diplomatic level to convince those who have not yet made announcements,” Nicolas Bideau, the head of communications at the Swiss foreign ministry, told RTS on Wednesday.

So far, 50 delegations have announced their arrival. They include the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, Germany’s Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, the head of the Italian government, Giorgia Meloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron.

+ All you need to know about the Ukraine peace summit

The Swiss foreign ministry says it is satisfied with the replies but expects more.

“The major European countries are there, but we would also like to have, as much as possible, countries from the South, because we want an open discussion on all the possibilities and reflections for peace in Ukraine. We therefore want numbers, but also North-South representativeness,” said Bideau.

+ Switzerland invites 160 delegations to Ukraine peace talks

Russia will be absent, however. “We did not invite Russia, because it keeps saying that it is not interested,” said Bideau.

But one of the objectives of the June meeting is to find a way to involve Moscow, he confirmed: “We are in a preparation phase, we will not make peace, as such, at the Bürgenstock but we would really like to launch a process that involves Russia. That’s why we are staying in contact with it.”

+ Macron will attend Swiss summit on Ukraine, says Zelensky

There is much speculation about the possible presence of US President Joe Biden at the Swiss-hosted conference. No announcement has been made officially yet. But a meeting of G7 leaders in Italy takes place from June 13 to 15 and ends just a few hours before the conference in Switzerland.

A security challenge

Beyond the diplomatic aspects, the Ukraine talks represent a major security challenge.

The security set-up in place should resemble that of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, which takes place every January in the mountain resort in southeast Switzerland.

The Bürgenstock talks will involved the Federal Police (Fedpol) and the police of four cantons: Nidwalden, Obwalden, Zurich and Lucerne. The army is likely to also participate, but this must still be discussed in the Federal Council.

Unlike the WEF, where Austria and Italy participate in controlling the airspace, no foreign army will join the operations, says the Swiss foreign ministry.

The Hotel Bürgenstock, which overlooks Lake Lucerne, is in a strategic location, easy to close to the public and close to an aerodrome.

Adapted from French by DeepL/sb

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI swissinfo.ch we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles.

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