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Xi refuses to back Zelensky’s unilateral ‘peace conference’

Any talks should be recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, the Chinese leader has insisted

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that he would support an international Ukraine peace conference only if it’s recognized both by Moscow and Kiev with equal participation of all parties.

The upcoming Swiss-proposed talks are scheduled to take place on June 15-16 at the Burgenstock resort near Lucerne. More than 160 delegations from around the world have been invited to take part, including members of the G7, G20, BRICS, EU, and others. Russian diplomats are not among them.

Xi, who met with with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Monday, warned against smearing China over the Ukraine conflict, insisting that Beijing was playing a “positive role” in trying to find a peaceful solution.

Xi told reporters during a joint news conference: “We [China] are opposed to using this crisis to place the responsibilities on a third country and tarnish its image and incite a new Cold War.”

China has also long urged peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, and issued a 12-point peace plan to end the hostilities one year into the conflict, in February 2023. The initiative, which was hailed by Moscow, includes a call for a cessation of hostilities, a resumption of peace talks, abandoning the “Cold War mentality,” and respecting the sovereignty of all nations.

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Swiss summit on Ukraine a ‘parody’ – Lavrov

“History has shown conflicts can only be resolved by negotiations,” the Chinese leader stressed on Monday, noting there should be equal participation of all parties and fair discussion of all peace plans.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry said recently Bern was “convinced” that a peace process without Russia is “unthinkable,” but Moscow had not been invited “at this stage.”

Moscow has previously called the proposed conference “pointless” and said it would not participate, even if invited. Ukraine has indicated that Russia would only be invited if it agreed to a litany of preconditions which Moscow has branded as “absurd.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called the upcoming event a “parody of negotiations” at which Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will be promoted. Lavrov also stated in an interview on Monday the ‘peace plan’ on which the summit will be centered contains “an openly illusory and Russophobic essence.”

In contrast to Beijing’s proposal to end the fighting, Kiev’s ten-point peace formula – first presented by Zelensky in the autumn of 2022 – demands the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from all territories Ukraine considers its own, for Moscow to pay reparations, and for a war crimes tribunal.

Russia has rejected the proposals as “unrealistic” and a sign of Kiev’s unwillingness to seek a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Moscow has repeatedly said it is willing to resolve the Ukraine conflict peacefully but will not accept a deal that ignores its national interests.

 

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