Will Swiss Conference Lay Foundations For Peace?

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) A two-day high-level conference on peace in Ukraine kicked off in Zurich on Saturday, aiming to pave the way for a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.
More than 80 countries confirmed their participation in the conference, half of which are from Europe. Qatar participated with a delegation headed by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani.
The 'peace summit in Ukraine' is not a negotiation forum but rather a high-level summit aimed at creating a basis for future negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
The summit, which Switzerland announced on April 10 that it had met the necessary conditions for holding it, addressed three main topics: nuclear safety, food security, and freedom of navigation, in addition to humanitarian aspects such as protecting civilians and exchanging prisoners of war.
The summit came in response to a request made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Swiss President Viola Amherd in January to organise an international peace summit with the aim of ending the ongoing war in Ukraine since February 2022.
The Swiss Foreign Ministry said the summit would build on discussions held in recent months such as the Ukrainian peace formula and other peace proposals based on the UN Charter and the basic principles of international law, and provide a platform for dialogue on ways to achieve comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine on the basis of international law and the UN Charter, promote a common understanding of a framework that would enable this goal to be achieved, and jointly define a roadmap on how to engage the parties in the future peace process.
Despite the importance of the summit and the diversity of its participants, Russia's absence and opposition to it may make it difficult to predict the results it will achieve and whether it will actually succeed in laying the foundations for peace in Ukraine.
Russia had confirmed more than once its readiness to negotiate with Ukraine but argued that any conference or summit that does not take Moscow's security concerns into account will not have tangible results on the ground.
On June 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country will win in Ukraine, but he said that it is also ready to negotiate and that any possible negotiations between the two countries must be based on the new reality.
During the plenary session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said that all armed conflicts end one way or another with some kind of negotiations. He added:“These agreements can be based on either military defeat or victory. We strive for and will achieve victory.” He stressed that Russia wants to negotiate with Ukraine but according to the conditions discussed in Minsk and Istanbul.
China also announced that it will not participate in the summit in light of Russia's absence, but stressed that this does not mean that Beijing does not support peace.
The West regards China as an ally of Russia, especially since it is among the few countries in the world that has not expressed its condemnation of the war in Ukraine.
In February 2023, China announced an initiative to resolve the crisis between Russia and Ukraine peacefully, stressing the need to resume direct dialogue between the two countries as soon as possible, with full respect for the sovereignty of all countries. Equal and uniform application of international law should be promoted, while double standards must be rejected. But, it did not receive the desired international response. Last May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that China could arrange a peace conference in which both Moscow and Kyiv would participate.
Lavrov added that his country agrees with China's position that the root causes of the conflict need to be addressed and legal interests of all parties need to be protected, with subsequent agreements based on the principle of equal and indivisible security.
Qatar's participation in the summit came as a result of its leading regional and international role in resolving disputes through mediation, with Qatar continuously calling for dialogue, negotiations, and a commitment to international charters and treaties.
Doha has been and continues to be a main negotiation hub where warring and disputing states and/or parties come together under a single roof to negotiate for peaceful resolutions, in an effort to promote international security and peace, with the country achieving success in numerous cases, something for which it received global praise.
As part of its efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine and mitigate its humanitarian and social repercussions, Qatar launched an initiative to reunite Ukrainian children with their families back in Ukraine, in cases where families got separated by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, with Qatar coordinating with both Ukraine and Russia for that end.
The result of this was that Qatar succeeded in reuniting Ukrainian children with their families in four operations, hosting approximately 20 families reunited from both sides (Russian and Ukrainian) last April, providing them with comprehensive medical, psychological, and social support, meeting the families' immediate and long-term needs, facilitating their stable recovery and reintegration.
Qatar's success in the family reunion initiative is proof of the country's reception as a reliable global player which strives for peace, security, and stability.
In April, Qatar announced its commitment to provide $3mn to the Office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights to support its core work in Ukraine, with this funding enabling a range of key initiatives, including the appointment of monitoring experts and the establishment and support of regional offices throughout Ukraine, in addition to enhancing the necessary infrastructure to deliver effective services aimed at supporting families and children affected by the ongoing conflict.
Qatar's humanitarian efforts are an extension of its state policy of promoting the resolution of conflicts through mediation and peaceful means, in a reflection of its permanent commitment to the principles of international law, international solidarity, and its contributions to peace and stability regionally and internationally.
Moreover, Qatar has recently participated in the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2024) held in Berlin, Germany, on 11 and 12 June, 2024, in which it mobilised international support for the reconstruction of Ukraine, providing urgent aid, implementing rapid recovery projects, attracting investment, and actively participating in social and economic recovery, especially in education, healthcare, and social services.
Indeed, since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Qatar has maintained a balanced foreign policy, engaging with both sides and repeatedly calling for dialogue as means to end the conflict, while providing maximum assistance to war-affected children and families.
Qatar spares no effort to achieve regional and international security and peace, working in all directions to bring stability to the region, something that is evident in Qatar's active and effective diplomacy with all partners.


Gulf Times

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