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Officials say Saudi Arabia will host a Ukrainian-organized peace summit over Russia’s war

The meeting will be held in August, and Moscow is not invited to participate

People take part in a commemoration ceremony in front of the former Russian embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 29, 2023.
People take part in a commemoration ceremony in front of the former Russian embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 29, 2023.GLEB GARANICH (REUTERS)

Saudi Arabia will host a Ukrainian-organized peace summit in early August seeking to find a way to start negotiations over Russia’s war on the country, officials said Sunday. The summit will be held in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, said one official, who spoke early Sunday on condition of anonymity as no authorization had been given to publicly discuss the summit. Russia was not invited, the official added.

Hours later, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, confirmed the talks would be held in Saudi Arabia, without naming Jeddah as the location.

“The Ukrainian Peace Formula contains 10 fundamental points, the implementation of which will not only ensure peace for Ukraine, but also create mechanisms to counter future conflicts in the world,” Yermak said in a statement. “We are deeply convinced that the Ukrainian peace plan should be taken as a basis, because the war is taking place on our land.”

Yermak’s statement described the 10 points as being “discussed individually and in groups with representatives of more than 50 countries on an almost weekly basis.”

Previously, Ukraine has described the 10-point peace formula as including the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, the release of all prisoners, a tribunal for those responsible for the aggression and security guarantees for Ukraine.

Other peace plans have been floated amid the war. Russian President Vladimir Putin just finished meetings in St. Petersburg with African leaders about their own proposed plan. China and Pope Francis also been working separately on their own. No details of those plans have been released.

Saudi Arabia did not acknowledge the upcoming summit Sunday and did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Those taking part in the summit will include Ukraine, Brazil, India, South Africa and several other countries, the official who spoke to AP said. A high-level official from U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration also is expected to attend the event, which is being planned by Kyiv, the official said.

Details remain in flux and the official did not offer dates for the talks, nor did Yermak.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the summit citing “diplomats involved in the discussion,” said the talks would take place Aug. 5 and 6, with some 30 countries attending. News of the summit comes after U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan visited the kingdom Thursday.

The official who spoke to AP said the summit would be the next step after talks that took place in Copenhagen in June.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attended an Arab League summit in Jeddah in May to press those nations to back Kyiv.

Arab nations largely have remained neutral since Russia launched the war on Ukraine in February 2022, in part over their military and economic ties to Moscow.

Saudi Arabia also has maintained a close relationship with Russia as part of the OPEC+ group. The organization’s oil production cuts, even as Moscow’s war on Ukraine boosted energy prices, have angered Biden and American lawmakers.

But hosting such talks also help raise the profile of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has sought to reach a détente with Iran and push for a peace in the kingdom’s yearslong war in Yemen.

Ties remain strained between Riyadh and the West over the 2018 killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, which U.S. intelligence agencies say was ordered by Prince Mohammed.

For Ukraine, the talks coincide with its efforts to beef up its security posture.

Yermak also said Sunday that Ukraine will begin talks with the United States next week on a bilateral agreement on security guarantees. He said the talks stem from a declaration by leaders of the Group of 7 nations earlier this month laying the groundwork for each nation to negotiate agreements to help Ukraine bolster its military.

Yermak said Ukraine is looking for “specific and long-term commitments that will ensure Ukraine’s ability to win now and deter Russian aggression in the future.”

U.S. officials had not confirmed the negotiations.

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