Officials from about 40 countries are meeting in Saudi Arabia to discuss how to achieve peace in Ukraine, but the talks do not include Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the representatives to the weekend summit in Jeddah, where talks began Saturday and included developing countries devastated by the surging food prices triggered by the war.
“This is very important because, on issues such as food security, the fate of millions of people in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world directly depends on how fast the world moves to implement the peace formula,” Zelensky said.
The rising food prices came after Russia pulled out of a United Nations-brokered grain deal that enabled Ukrainian produce to be shipped through the Black Sea to parts of the globe struggling with widespread hunger.
Zelensky added that he hoped the meeting between world leaders — who are aiming to draft key principles on how to end the Russian invasion — will lead to a “peace summit” this fall to endorse the initiatives outlined this weekend.
Ukraine previously released its plan to end the conflict, which calls for Russia to respect its territories and withdraw troops from territories Moscow claims to have annexed.
Russia has rejected the plan, although the Kremlin said it will “keep an eye” on the meeting.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said this week that Russia would “need to understand what goals are set and what will be discussed.”
“Any attempt to promote a peaceful settlement deserves a positive evaluation,” he said.
China, which has claimed to be a neutral party in the conflict despite criticism that it has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion, said Friday it would be sending Special Envoy for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui to the summit.
“We have many disagreements and we have heard different positions, but it is important that our principles are shared,” Hui said.
“China is willing to work with the international community to continue to play a constructive role in promoting a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at the Chinese ministry, said in a statement.
With Post Wires.