Kremlin hits out at futility of Swiss talks

2024-06-18 09:25:07China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa opt out of document with key questions unresolved

The Kremlin said on Monday that a Swiss-hosted conference on the Ukraine conflict had produced negligible results and showed the futility of holding talks without Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the results of the meeting were "close to zero".

Russia remains open to dialogue with all countries that intend to conduct it and will continue to convey its position to these countries, Peskov said.

It came as dozens of countries meeting in Switzerland agreed on Sunday that Kyiv should enter dialogue with Moscow, and some participating countries did not sign a final communique because of differences.

"We believe that reaching peace requires the involvement of and dialogue between all parties," the final communique read.

Western powers and their allies denounced Russia, but failed to persuade major nonaligned states to join their final statement, and no country came forward to host a sequel. They also left the key questions of how and when the conflict is resolved.

The Kremlin has described Switzerland as "openly hostile" and unfit to mediate in peace-building efforts, in particular because of its adoption of Western sanctions against Moscow.

Not all attendees backed the document. India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates were among those not included in a list of supporting states displayed on screens at the meeting.

Brazil, which was listed as an "observer" on the list of attendees, also did not feature as a signatory.

'Absolute farce'

In Switzerland, the Swiss People's Party, the biggest group in the lower house of parliament, panned the conference in a bid to pressure Russia as an "embarrassment", reflecting the view that the talks are damaging to Switzerland's traditional neutrality.

Leading figures in the party have argued that Switzerland should not have hosted the meeting without Russia. And Nils Fiechter, chief of the party's youth wing, delivered a damning verdict on the talks to Russian broadcaster RT.

"The whole thing is an absolute farce and an embarrassment for our country," Fiechter said in comments picked up by Swiss media on Sunday.

The conference also came at a moment when Ukraine's military faces increased pressure on the battlefield.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not ruling out talks with Ukraine, but guarantees will be needed to ensure the credibility of any negotiations, Peskov was cited by Russian news agencies as saying on Sunday.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he hoped to garner international support for a proposal to end the conflict that he could eventually present to Moscow.

Zelensky told participants that he hoped the conference would lay the groundwork for a "just" and "lasting" settlement with Russia.

Zelensky did not say if he was prepared to engage in talks with Putin directly. Putin called on Ukraine to withdraw its troops from the south and east and renounce its ambitions to join NATO, conditions quickly dismissed by the West.

"He is calling for surrender," United States Vice-President Kamala Harris said on Saturday commenting on Putin's demands.

Some countries from outside Ukraine's traditional circle of partners stressed the need to give Russia a voice and criticized some Western sanctions targeting Moscow.

Kyiv would have to be prepared for a "difficult compromise" if it wanted to end the conflict, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud told the conference.


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