DUBAI: Saudi Arabia will host a Ukrainian-organised peace summit in early August seeking to find a way to start negotiations over Russia’s war on the country, an official said Saturday night. The kingdom and Kyiv did not immediately acknowledge the planned talks.
The summit will be held in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as no authorisation had been given to publicly discuss the summit.
Those taking part in the summit will include Ukraine, as well as Brazil, India, South Africa and several other countries, the official said. A high-level official from US President Joe Biden’s administration also is expected to attend, the official said. Planning for the event is being overseen by Kyiv and Russia is not invited, the official said.
Details regarding the summit, however, remain in flux and the official did not offer dates for the talks. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the summit, said the talks would take place August 5 and 6 with some 30 countries attending, citing “diplomats involved in the discussion.”
Saudi officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press, nor did Ukraine’s Embassy in Riyadh. News of the summit comes after US national security adviser Jake Sullivan visited the kingdom on Thursday.
The official who spoke to the AP said the summit would be the next step after talks that took place in Copenhagen in June.
Ukraine and Western officials hope that the talks can lead to international backing for peace terms favoring Ukraine, Wall Street Journal said.
The Kremlin, which claims to have annexed around a sixth of Ukraine, has said it views peace talks with Ukraine as possible only if Kyiv accepts “new realities “. Kyiv says negotiations with Russia would be possible only after Moscow withdraws its troops.
Among the invited countries, it is not yet clear how many will attend, although countries that took part in a similar round of talks in Copenhagen in June are expected to do so again, the report said.
Britain, South Africa, Poland and the EU are among those who have confirmed attendance and Sullivan is expected to attend, it added.
Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the talks come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in May attended an Arab League summit in Jeddah 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.