Menu Close

Global South countries break with West on Ukraine Summit final declaration

Add to my bookmarks

Share This Article:

Closing of Ukraine Summit. None of the BRICS member states signed the final joint communique which talked about respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Many affirmed that there cannot be any serious discussion on peace without Russian participation. – Picture: Gabriel Boric / X (Formerly Twitter)

By Peoples Dispatch

Key Global South countries attending the Ukraine “peace” conference in Switzerland this past weekend refused to sign the joint communique issued at the end of the two-day summit. Many of them underlined the need for Russian participation in any such initiatives for them to be credible.

Countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, and BRICS members, India, South Africa, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) did not agree to what was outlined in the communique despite participating in the summit over the weekend.

Russia, which was not invited to join the summit, had already rejected the outcome and questioned the basis of the summit. President Vladimir Putin had also called the summit an attempt by the West to distract the world’s attention away from the root causes of the conflict.

China was invited but refused to participate. It had rejected the invitation claiming the meeting would not be productive without the presence of Russia.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan al Saud while speaking in the conference said that the peace conference is not credible and “It is essential to emphasise that any credible process will need Russia’s participation”.

Colombia withdrew from the summit at the last moment. President Gustavo Pedro claimed that the conference in Switzerland is “not a free forum to discuss the path to peace between Russia and Ukraine” and has “all conclusions already predetermined”.

Seventy-eight out of over 90 participating countries signed the joint communique issued at the end of the conference. The majority of those who signed the document were Western countries and their close allies such as Japan, Argentina, and Chile. As per reports, some countries such as Iraq and Jordan withdrew their signature later after first signing it.

The final document talks about the cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territories and restoration of its pre-war border with Russia without even referring to the core Russian grievances leading to the conflict such as the failure of Ukraine to implement Minsk agreements and threats to Russian security due to the expansion of Nato.

It claims that just and lasting peace in Ukraine can only be on the basis of “respect for [its] territorial integrity and sovereignty”. The signatories agreed to their “commitments to refraining from the threat against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, the principles of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine”.

The document also talks about full Ukrainian control over all Black and Azov sea ports, return of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant to Ukrainian control and release of all political prisoners.

The final communique mostly rephrases the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan first proclaimed in December 2022. This was already rejected by Russians as unrealistic. On Sunday, Zelenskyy repeated his accusation against Russia saying it is not ready for a “just peace”. He however reiterated his stance that talks with Russia were only possible if it leaves all Ukrainian territories [including Crimea] unconditionally.

The two-day conference saw high level participation mostly from European countries with most other countries represented by ministers or low-level officials. The US was represented by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Putin had presented his country’s own counter proposal for peace on Friday, the day before the conference was to begin. He demanded that Ukraine withdraw from four Ukrainian provinces annexed by Russia, namely Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson, demilitarisation, denazification and denuclearisation of Ukraine, and lifting of all sanctions against Russia imposed by the Western countries. Putin called it a “concrete and real peace proposal”.

Putin also demanded that rights and freedom of the Russian speaking people inside Ukraine must be fully ensured claiming all these points were agreed upon during the Istanbul talks in 2022. Russia claims that Ukraine withdrew from the talks following pressure from its Western backers.

This article was first published on Peoples Dispatch