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Ukraine Push for Support Draws 45 Leaders to Swiss Summit

(Bloomberg) — Some 90 countries will attend a Ukraine summit this weekend, Swiss officials said on Monday, but key countries from the so called Global South have still to confirm their attendance.

“The list of participants is fluid until the last day,” President Viola Amherd told journalists on Monday in Bern. About half of the participating countries will be represented at the level of heads of state or government, Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis added. A final list of participants will be published only Friday evening.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy originally asked Switzerland to organize the talks to drum up support — particularly from countries beyond Ukraine’s traditional allies in the West — for a broad set of demands that included the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

But the June 15-16 gathering in Lucerne, Switzerland, appears set to fall short of those ambitions. China declined to attend over the Swiss refusal to invite Russia, and Brazil and South Africa have yet to confirm, Cassis said. While India will be present, it seems unlikely that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will personally attend. Turkey, which brokered initial talks between Ukraine and Russia shortly after the start of the invasion, will also be present.

The conference will focus on a narrow set of goals including nuclear safety, food security, freedom of navigation and humanitarian issues, the government said in a statement, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg.

The conference should be seen as the first step in a peace process in which Russia should be included eventually, Foreign Minister Cassis said. He added that it’s still being discussed what country will lead the next phase of the talks and organize a follow-up conference.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov thanked his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday for Beijing’s decision not to attend the Swiss summit. The meeting “does not provide for Russia’s equitable participation,” Lavrov told Wang on the sidelines of a conference of BRICS foreign ministers in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

–With assistance from Tony Halpin.

(Updates with Lavrov in the final paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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