Peace summit stands behind Ukraine, calls for dialogue to end war

World leaders call for the release of prisoners of war and the return of thousands of Ukrainian children taken by Russia.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and representatives from other countries attend a plenary session, during the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, in Stansstad, Switzerland, Sunday, June 16, 2024 [Michael Buholzer/Pool via Reuters]Published On 16 Jun 202416 Jun 2024

Dozens of countries at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine have declared that Kyiv’s “territorial integrity” should be respected, as they urged “dialogue between all parties” to find a lasting settlement in the ongoing conflict with Russia.

In a final communique issued at the end of a major two-day diplomatic summit in Switzerland on Sunday, the vast majority of countries represented also backed a call for the full exchange of captured soldiers and the return of deported Ukrainian children.

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“We believe that reaching peace requires the involvement of and dialogue between all parties,” the document stated.

In his closing speech on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he hopes the “results” will be achieved “as soon as possible”.

“We’ll prove to everyone in the world that the UN Charter can be restored to full effectiveness,” he said.

But not all attendees backed the document, with Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates among those not included in a list of supporting states displayed on screens at the summit.

Brazil, which was listed as an “observer” on the list of attendees, also did not feature as a signatory.

The final document also reaffirmed “the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine, within their internationally recognised borders.”

More than 90 countries had gathered in the Swiss resort of Burgenstock for the summit, dedicated to discussing Kyiv’s proposals for a route out of the conflict.

Moscow was not invited and has rejected the summit as “absurd” and pointless.

Kyiv had worked hard to secure attendance from countries that maintain warm relations with Russia.

Prisoner exchange, return of Ukrainian children

The final document also called for all prisoners of war to be released in a “complete exchange” and for all Ukrainian children who had been “deported and unlawfully displaced” to be returned to Ukraine.

Kyiv accuses Russia of abducting almost 20,000 children from parts of the east and south of the country that its forces took control of.

Working groups at the summit also addressed the issues of global food security and nuclear safety.

“Food security must not be weaponised in any way,” the declaration stated, adding that access to ports in the Black and Azov Seas was “critical” for global food supply.

The countries represented at the summit also called for Ukraine to have “full sovereign control” over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Located in the south of Ukraine, the facility is Europe’s largest nuclear energy site and has been controlled by Russian forces since early in the war.

On Sunday, Russia’s defence ministry declared that its forces have taken control of another village in the Zaporizhia region, according to the Interfax news agency.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies