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Did the Ukrainian Peace Conference achieve what Zelensky or its organisers desired?
TIWN June 19, 2024
Did the Ukrainian Peace Conference achieve what Zelensky or its organisers desired?

New Delhi, June 19 : Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky extolled the outcome of the peace conference in Switzerland - held without the presence of Russia, which was not invited - contending that all the participants at the summit, representing "the majority of the world", have recognised his country's position.

How valid is his claim, even if the usual hyperbole is discounted?

It would seem that not much has been gained, given the two-day 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' did not make much headway in either composition, substance, or even optics.

Admittedly, Russia's absence had virtually meant the conference would not even approach its objective, while the decision of China to stay away compounded this deficiency, and most countries of the Global South across Asia and Africa, which the organisers had sought to reach out to, were also conspicuous by their absence.

Of those who did attend, many like India, Brazil, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia did not even sign the final communique.

The attendance also laid out starkly the global divisions - of the 90 states and organisations present, 48 were European states or institutions, including Kosovo - listed as a country - and another six forming part of the Western bloc, like the US, Canada, and their Asian allies like Japan and South Korea. Out of these, 78 ended up signing the communique.

Of the post-Soviet states, only Georgia and Armenia, save Ukraine itself and three Baltic states, were present, and Armenia did not sign the communique.

While Latin and South America were well represented and most signed the communique, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia did not.

From Africa, there were just 13 participants and while Benin, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia signed on, South Africa and Libya did not.

The Middle East was only represented by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Iraq, and while Saudi Arabia and Jordan did not sign, the other two did, but Iraq later withdrew its signature.

The Asian presence was also sketchy, with India, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore joined by Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Timor Leste. Japan, South Korea, and Singapore were the only signatories.

Fiji and Palau were two signatories from the Pacific Ocean states, apart from Australia and New Zealand.

Even on the optics front, the summit did not meet its objectives.

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