Saudi Arabia Suggests Global Endeavors: “A Peaceful Settlement For Ukrainian Conflict”
An international meeting was convened in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, symbolizing Saudi Arabia's emergence from isolation. Six years after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, aiming to end its international isolation, Saudi Arabia initiated an international meeting for the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian conflict. Notably, discussions concerning the Russian-Ukrainian conflict took place without the participation of Russia.
The meeting transpired in Jeddah, the economic hub of Saudi Arabia, spanning August 5-6, with delegates from 42 countries in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was to gather the countries of the "Global South" - India, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey, as well as the USA, Canada, the EU - to join efforts for the peace initiative in Ukraine. While Russia was not invited it would be kept informed of the proceedings.
The significance of the Jeddah meeting for Ukraine is underscored by the involvement of the countries that display nuanced stances towards Russia, refraining from full-fledged support for sanctions and even harboring a mildly positive disposition. Particularly noteworthy was the robust representation of China, led by Li Hu Wei, the special envoy for Eurasian affairs (formerly the Chinese ambassador to Russia). The USA's representation was led by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and National Security Adviser Ajid Doval, an influential figure, represented India. Furthermore, Turkey's representation was provided by Akif Çagatay Kilic, Chief Adviser to President Erdogan.
Although an earlier meeting in Copenhagen on June 24 delved into the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Jeddah meeting witnessed substantial participant augmentation. According to the reputable publication "The New York Times," this exemplifies Ukraine's diplomatic endeavors to isolate and weaken Russia.
Russian media reported the presence of around 30 participating countries. Russian officials, including RF MFA S. Lavrov, acknowledged that such Forums aim to involve more countries in simulating the discussion of the Zelensky Resolution, which requires Russia's complete capitulation, agreement to security restrictions, and leaving the fate of millions of Russians to the whims of luck. The spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, M. Zakharova, expressed more harshly regarding the meeting in Jeddah, considering it absurd and nonsense. M. Zakharova also stated that Moscow views the Jeddah meeting as an attempt to create an anti-Russian coalition.
Comments from former Russian President and, nowadays, Deputy Chairman of the National Security Council Dmitry Medvedev were widely disseminated in Russian media, amplifying a robust stance against negotiations. According to the latter, "negotiations are not necessary for now; the enemy must beg for forgiveness on his knees." Nevertheless, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated that Russia will discuss outcomes from the Jeddah meeting with representatives of BRICS member states.
Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, outlined a three-phase plan for discussions: commencing with addressing elements of the Ukrainian peace resolution, followed by interactions between national security advisers to establish mechanisms for peace, culminating in a Global Meeting involving heads of state later in the year.
The Jeddah meeting was conducted in a secluded format, excluding press presence, with participants delivering statements following deliberations. Ukrainian expert Mikhail Komodovsky held subdued expectations regarding tangible outcomes from the talks, viewing it as a platform to present President Zelensky's "Peace Resolution" to allies and neutrally aligned nations. The resolution centers on Russia's withdrawal from Ukrainian territory as a precondition for peace and restoration of 1991 borders.
Pyotr Olishchuk, an associate professor at Kyiv National University, envisioned a more consequential meeting involving countries' leaders in September to delve deeper into Zelensky's Peace Resolution. The primary focus of the Jeddah meeting from the Ukrainian perspective was to outline their preconditions and "red lines" for the peace process, rendering them understandable and relatable to Western partners. Vladimir Fesenko, director of the "Penta" Center for Applied Political Studies in Ukraine, posited that Russia's exclusion from the Jeddah meeting might align with simultaneous negotiations, accompanied by heightened pressure on Russia.
The Jeddah meeting reached consensus to uphold Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, aligning with UN Charter principles.