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VP Harris is to represent the US at Swiss ‘peace summit’ for Ukraine

VP Harris is to represent the US at Swiss ‘peace summit’ for Ukraine
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WASHINGTON: Vice President Kamala Harris will represent the US at this month’s Swiss-organized global peace summit on the war in Ukraine, an event promoted by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The White House said on Monday (June 3) that Harris would attend the meeting in Lucerne on June 15. President Joe Biden is scheduled to be at a campaign fundraiser in Los Angeles hosted by actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

“The Vice President will underscore the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s effort to secure a just and lasting peace, based on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and the principles of the UN charter, said her communications director, Kirsten Allen.

She said Harris will also “reaffirm support for the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against ongoing Russian aggression.”

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, will join Harris as part of the US delegation.

Zelenskyy has heavily boosted the summit and encouraged world leaders to attend, even as he’s accused Russia, with China’s help of trying to undermine the meeting.

Switzerland will host the summit on June 15-16 that aims to build broad international support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace proposals including the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, but Moscow has not been invited.

107+ COUNTRIES TAKING PART

Zelensky’s office says that 107 countries and international organisations have confirmed their participation, including Ukraine’s Western allies and countries from South America, Africa and the Middle East. Kyiv has sent invitations to some 160 capitals and organisations in total.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the summit would be “absolutely futile” without Russia’s participation.

Kyiv decided against inviting Russia because it does not trust Moscow, whose invasion has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, uprooted millions more and devastated Ukrainian towns and cities. Russian forces currently control about 18% of Ukrainian territory.

Serhiy Nikiforov, the presidential spokesperson, said the talks, building on Zelensky’s 10-point peace formula, would prioritise three key themes – food security, nuclear safety and the release of all prisoners and deportees.

“Precisely these three points have potential to unite countries with different views,” Nikiforov told Ukrainian TV.

The first talks between Ukraine and Russia took place in the early days of Russia’s invasion. The delegations met in Belarus and then in March 2022 in Istanbul, but broke down.

During 2022 and 2023 separate peace initiatives were announced by China, the Vatican and a group of African countries, but also to no avail.

In September 2022 Zelensky signed a decree banning any talks with Putin. Ukrainian officials have stood by their position that peace talks with Russia will only be possible when Moscow withdraws its forces from occupied Ukrainian territory.

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