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Saudi Arabia to host Ukraine peace talks, top official says

Ukrainian official says Saudi Arabia gathering will discuss Kyiv’s 10-point peace formula, which calls for departure of all Russian troops.

Saudi Arabia is preparing to host a summit to discuss Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s plan for peace in his country amid the ongoing Russian invasion, according to a senior official in Kyiv.

Andriy Yermak, Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, said on Sunday that officials from several countries would take part in the Saudi Arabian summit but did not say when or in which city the meeting will be held.

An international news journal, which first reported on the summit citing “diplomats involved in the discussion”, said the talks would take place on August 5 and 6, in the city of Jeddah, with some 30 countries attending.

The Journal said Ukrainian and Western officials hope the efforts could culminate in a peace summit later this year where global leaders would sign up to shared principles for resolving the war.

Yermak, writing on Telegram, said discussions will take place on the Ukrainian Peace Formula, which “contains 10 fundamental points, the implementation of which will not only ensure peace for Ukraine, but also create mechanisms tocounter future conflicts in the world”.

Previously, Ukraine has described the 10-point peace formula as including the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, the release of all prisoners, a tribunal for those responsible for the aggression and security guarantees for Ukraine.

“We are deeply convinced that the Ukrainian peace plan should be taken as a basis, because the war is taking place on our land,” Yermak said.

His statement described the 10 points as being “discussed individually and in groups with representatives of more than 50 countries on an almost weekly basis”.

He added that the meeting in Saudi Arabia follows on from a gathering of senior officials in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, in late June. Countries that attended the initial meeting included Brazil, India, Turkey and South Africa.

For the Jeddah summit, the 30 invitees include Chile, Egypt, the European Union, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia, according to the Journal.

Russia has not been invited, according to an international news agency. Citing an unnamed official, the an international news agency said a high-level official from US President Joe Biden’s administration is also expected to attend the event.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia.

The planned summit there follows a visit by Zelenskyy to an Arab League summit in Jeddah in May to press those nations to back Kyiv.

Arab nations have largely remained neutral since Russia launched the full-scale war on Ukraine in February 2022, in part over their military and economic ties to Moscow.

Saudi Arabia also has maintained a close relationship with Russia as part of the OPEC+ group. But hosting such talks helps raise the profile of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has sought to reach a detente with Iran and push for peace in the kingdom’s years-long war in Yemen.

For Ukraine, the talks coincide with its efforts to beef up its security posture.

Yermak also said on Sunday that Ukraine will begin talks with the US next week on a bilateral agreement on security guarantees. He said the talks stem from a declaration by leaders of the Group of 7 nations earlier this month laying the groundwork for each nation to negotiate agreements to help Ukraine bolster its military.

Yermak said Ukraine is looking for “specific and long-term commitments that will ensure Ukraine’s ability to win now and deter Russian aggression in the future”.

US officials had not confirmed the negotiations.

Other peace plans have meanwhile been floated amid the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin finished meetings in Saint Petersburg over the weekend with African leaders about their own proposed plan. China and Pope Francis have also been working separately on their own. No details of those plans have been released.

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