The US, China, and India attended talks on the Ukraine war in Saudi Arabia on Saturday that were aimed at convincing neutral countries to support Ukrainian demands for a peace deal.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the meetings in Jeddah were attended by officials from 42 countries, including other non-aligned nations; Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa. While being portrayed in Western media as peace talks, Russia was not invited.
Similar talks were held in Denmark in June, but twice as many nations sent envoys to Jeddah. Sources told the Journal that at the Denmark summit, Ukraine pushed other countries to adopt its demands for peace, which includes a full Russian withdrawal before talks can even happen. But the sources said that in Saudi Arabia, Ukraine did not stress that point.
The report reads: “A senior European official said that Ukraine didn’t push again for its peace plan to be accepted and other countries weren’t insisting that Kyiv drop it. Nor was there any crossfire over Ukraine’s demand for the withdrawal of Russian troops. Ukraine didn’t press the point, two diplomats said, nor was it challenged by developing countries.”
If Ukraine dropped its precondition for a full Russian withdrawal, it would mark a significant concession from Kyiv. But Western powers are still arguing against the idea of a ceasefire. China presented its 12-point peace plan at the summit, which it released publicly in February.
The Chinese plan calls for a pause in fighting and an immediate resumption of peace talks, but the Journal report said European diplomats “pushed back to warn that an unconditional cease-fire could simply create a frozen conflict and allow Russia to consolidate its control of Ukrainian territory.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken made similar comments in June when he publicly rejected the idea of a ceasefire ahead of Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
Representing the US at the Saudi Arabia summit were National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Victoria Nuland, who was recently promoted to acting deputy secretary of state. The two US officials met with Li Hui, a Chinese diplomat appointed as an envoy to seek peace in Ukraine.
The Journal report said that at the conclusion of the Jeddah summit, there was an agreement that respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be at the heart of future peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. Most countries that attended, including China, agreed to hold another summit in the coming weeks that would also exclude Russia.