Representatives from 40 countries met in Saudi Arabia to talk about ending Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine. It is about a solution to the "Ukrainian-Russian crisis," reported Saudi state television after the start of the meeting in Jeddah on the Red Sea. Also invited are Ukraine, the USA, the EU and Germany. According to dpa information, China's special envoy Li Hui also arrived. No invitation went to Russia, which started the war 17 months ago.
There will probably not be a final declaration, the German Press Agency learned from circles in the Saudi Foreign Ministry. The aim of the talks is an "exchange of opinions and perspectives" to resolve the conflict. As at a similar meeting in Copenhagen in June, there will be no explanation and no public statements afterwards. Final declarations are often an important means of publicly recording common positions, demands or commitments at international meetings.
Zelenskyj's "peace formula" basis of the deliberations
The talks are about the implementation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's "peace formula" for a solution to the conflict. At its core is the demand for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine. At the meeting in Copenhagen, ambassadors from allied countries had already discussed it. This meeting also ended without a joint statement.
Saudi Arabia maintains good contacts with both Russia and Ukraine and has offered to act as a mediator. Last year, Riyadh mediated in an exchange of prisoners. Zelenskyy traveled to Saudi Arabia in May and spoke at an Arab League summit. The Kremlin said in advance that they would "follow" the meeting in Jeddah.
Foreign policy experts as representatives of Germany
A list of the participating countries was not published in advance. Diplomats said countries like Indonesia, Egypt and Turkey had also been invited. The governments of Poland and India confirmed on social media that advisers to President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi respectively were arriving.
The US delegation was headed by national security adviser Jake Sullivan, the White House said. According to information from government circles, Germany is represented by Jens Plötner, foreign policy advisor to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Tjorven Bellmann, political director of the Federal Foreign Office. The foreign policy adviser to EU Council President Charles Michel, Simon Mordue, will represent the EU. In addition, Bjoern Seibert, chief of staff of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, should also arrive.
Do countries of the Global South side with Ukraine?
The hope is now also to gain support for Ukraine through the participation of influential states from the so-called Global South. The term "Global South" often refers to countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East. Above all, observers see the participation of China, which is considered a supporter of Russia, as a success. The People's Republic was not represented at the meeting in Copenhagen.
According to the Saudi state agency SPA, the meeting is initially only scheduled for Saturday. However, diplomatic circles in Riyadh said the meeting would last until Sunday. The Wall Street Journal had previously reported on a planned two-day meeting.