Ukraine Peace Talks In Davos Fail To Bring Results

National security advisors from 83 countries met in Davos, Switzerland to discuss the Ukraine peace formula. Previous meetings in this format were held in Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and Malta. As expected, no final declaration was due to be released, as the meeting was informal in nature. Switzerland, which hosted this round of talks, said that they serve to bring a “lasting and just peace in Ukraine”.

Ukraine had gone into the talks expecting tense discussions. The United States has been crucial in its ability to sustain Russian military attacks, but Washington’s recent hesitancy to provide additional military support is causing concern among the Ukrainian authorities. What is more, with war raging in Gaza and causing skirmishes across the whole Middle East, Ukraine fears that the attention of the international community is moving elsewhere.

Still, the number of participants in the peace talks was probably the main achievement for Ukrainian diplomacy. About 40 delegations took part in the discussions in Saudi Arabia, the number then increased to 65 in Malta and now stands at 83, including 18 Asian and 12 African countries. This is a great success for Ukraine, as the final picture of the talks looks much more diverse now than it did previously. Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President’s chief of staff, has said it’s a “good sign” that the number of participants is increasing.

President Volodymyr Zelensky at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. Ukrainian officials have said that they will resist any temporary truce that comes separate from a broader settlement

A number of key actors from the Global South took part in the talks, including members of BRICS, such as Brazil, India, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. However, it is notable that China was absent in Davos despite attending the Saudi Arabian round of discussions. Ignazio Cassis, Switzerland’s Federal Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “China plays a significant role. We must find ways to work with China on this”, referring to Beijing’s absence at the meeting. As the talks serve to harmonize the West’s policy towards Ukraine with the stances of the countries of the Global South, such representation is of immense importance to Ukraine.

Despite the growing number of participants, the discussion has seemingly failed to bring any tangible results, as one of the participants noted that “it’s not in a setting of 83 delegations that you make real diplomatic headway in trying to conjure up the parameters of a peace treaty”, as reported by the Financial Times. Bloomberg reports that the Davos talks ended with no clear path forward.

According to Ignazio Cassis, this will be the last meeting of this kind, as the countries will try finding new formats. Ukraine will hope for a leader-level meeting, others argue for Russia’s involvement in the talks. “Neither Ukraine nor Russia is prepared to make territorial concessions”, said Cassis in a press conference after the talks. The territorial issue is the most contentious one, which will need to be resolved to speak of any peaceful resolution of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Russia’s involvement in the talks is also a controversial issue, as many argue that no progress on an agreement is possible without its participation in further discussions.

Commenting on the Davos, the Russian Foreign Ministry said discussing a settlement in Ukraine without involving Russia is “senseless”. It has also stressed the peace formula talks’ lack of connection to reality and emphasized that the event only serves to impose the West’s will and stance on the countries of the Global South.

Still, amid multiplying global crises, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President of Ukraine, continues to portray Ukraine’s 10-point peace formula as the basis for any talks with Russia. The plan includes “restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity” based on pre-2014 borders with Russia, “establishing a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes”, “building a security architecture in the Euro-Atlantic space” with Ukraine’s participation – all provisions that are highly unlikely to be agreed to by Russia. Additionally, Andriy Yermak said Ukraine was not going to accept any ceasefire without a comprehensive resolution to the conflict. “The President and his team will never accept any type of freezing the conflict. This is unacceptable for the Ukrainian society”, said Yermak after the Davos talks.

All in all, a comprehensive resolution of the conflict seems far from reality, as no party is ready to make concessions to the other. The Davos talks have confirmed that the international community is highly interested in the end of hostilities in Ukraine, but so far no one seems to know how to find a way out of the conflict.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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