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Ukraine and Saudi Arabia invite 40 Global South nations to talks about war

40 nations that have maintained a neutral stance throughout the Russo-Ukrainian war invited to talks in Saudi Arabia
Zelenskyy
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Kyiv on 26 Feb., 2023. Credit: President’s Office of Ukraine.
Ukraine and Saudi Arabia invite 40 Global South nations to talks about war

Ukraine is embarking on a significant and renewed diplomatic effort, spearheaded by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to weaken Russia’s position in the ongoing war. The initiative began this weekend at a gathering in Saudi Arabia, where diplomats from approximately 40 countries, including China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and several oil-rich Gulf nations, were invited to talks in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, NYT writes.

Of notable interest are nations that have maintained a neutral stance throughout the war, refraining from taking sides. For them, the war has been framed as a contest between global powers, and they have cautiously avoided direct involvement. Despite the event’s fast-approaching date, it remains unclear how many nations will attend.

The meeting in Jeddah marks the starting point of what is expected to be a major diplomatic push by Ukraine in the coming months, aimed at isolating and undercutting Russia. President Zelenskyy’s determination is evident as he recently recalled Ukrainian ambassadors for an emergency strategy session, urging them to employ all available means – official and unofficial, institutional and media, cultural diplomacy, and the power of ordinary human sincerity – to convince steadfast allies and Global South nations that lasting peace can only be achieved through the complete defeat of Russian aggression.

In the months ahead, Ukraine will seize additional opportunities to present its case on the world stage. The annual United Nations General Assembly session in September will provide another platform for Ukraine to advocate for its cause. Furthermore, the country is planning a summit later in the fall to shore up support for its 10-point peace formula, with the hopes of it forming the backbone of any future settlement.

However, Ukrainian and Western officials remain cautious, tempering expectations for the talks in Jeddah. They acknowledge that many of the invited nations may be hesitant to shift their stances. Nevertheless, the presence of countries like Indonesia, India, Mexico, and South Africa offers some encouragement for the United States, which is expected to participate. These nations are eager to see the war come to an end, considering the economic hardships it has caused, but whether they will take a firm stand against Moscow remains uncertain.

As battles continue to rage across the front lines of Europe’s bloodiest war in decades, President Zelenskyy warned that the road to peace may become even more challenging. Pressure is likely to mount in the coming months to find a negotiated path to peace, further underscoring the significance of Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts in garnering international support and isolating Russia.

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