40 world leaders to attend Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland

Viola Amherd (Source: Viola Amherd @X) /IANS

Geneva, June 10 (IANS/DPA) Around 40 world leaders have signed up to participate in a Ukraine peace conference to be held on a picturesque Swiss mountain next weekend.

The Swiss government, which is organising the talks at a luxury resort on the Burgenstock, a mountain ridge on Lake Lucerne, said around 160 presidents and prime ministers had been invited in total.

About 40 countries will be represented with lower-level officials, Swiss President Viola Amherd said in Bern on Monday. Representatives of the United Nations and other organisations will also be attending.

The neutral Swiss government is billing the summit as a “peace conference.” But no agreement is expected between the warring sides, not least of all because Russia is not taking part. China, along with other countries with close ties to Moscow, are also staying away.

The Kremlin has dismissed the meeting as a Western propaganda event.

Still, diplomats and the Swiss government believe it could serve as a prelude to further talks that may eventually include Russia.

Amherd said humanitarian issues, nuclear safety, freedom of navigation and food security would be discussed at a high level during the talks on Saturday and Sunday.

Several leaders will travel to Switzerland from the G7 summit in Italy, which starts on Thursday. This includes German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. However, US President Joe Biden is sending Vice President Kamala Harris in his place for the Swiss talks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who had asked Switzerland to organise the conference, was due to attend.

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