new session of talks in Malta, without Russia

New negotiations on Ukraine’s peace plan began Saturday in Malta, with the participation of more than 60 countries, but not Russia, Maltese and Ukrainian officials said. The two-day meeting of national security delegates is the third round of such talks in recent months. Ukraine sees this as an opportunity to gain support from countries around the world for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan.

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A third session of talks supported by Ukraine to put an end to the Russian invasion began on Saturday October 28 in Malta with representatives from more than 60 countries, in the absence of Russia which denounces “a profoundly anti-Russian.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke in the first of two days of closed-door talks, aimed at building support for his 10-point plan to end the war sparked by Russia’s February 2022 invasion .

In a message posted on social networks, he welcomed the participation of diplomatic advisers from 66 countries in the meeting which comes after those in Jeddah and Copenhagen this summer. Proof according to him that the Ukrainian peace plan “has gradually become global”.

“The meeting confirmed broad interest and growing support for key elements of the Ukrainian peace formula,” said a representative of the European Union (EU). Some 40 nations took part in the Saudi summit in August.

In the context of the war between Hamas and Israel, the meeting shows “that the restoration of a just peace is important beyond Ukraine; it is a global plea for respect for international law” , according to the same European source.

Volodymyr Zelensky is pushing his 10-point peace plan, which calls for Russia to withdraw all its troops outside Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.

But Russia – which proclaimed the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia in September 2022 and that of Crimea in 2014 – has rejected any settlement that would involve ceding these territories.

“It is obvious that steps (like the Malta meeting, editor’s note) have absolutely no future, they are just counterproductive,” declared Thursday the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, describing this meeting as a “deeply biased and anti-Russian event, which has nothing to do with a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.”

China absent

kyiv’s supporters, such as the United States, the EU and the United Kingdom, are participating in the Malta meeting. Turkey, which offered itself as mediator between Ukraine and Russia, is also represented, according to a list consulted by AFP before the opening of the meeting.

But these discussions, where the territorial integrity of Ukraine is notably at issue, have the particularity of also seeing the participation of countries which have refrained from condemning the Russian invasion, such as South Africa and India. Or who refused to join Western nations in sending weapons to Ukraine or imposing sanctions on Russia, like Brazil.

China, which refuses to condemn the Russian invasion, did not send a delegation to Malta, according to the EU official, although it was represented in Jeddah.

Organizers are hoping for a joint declaration from the Malta summit, unlike the previous two meetings.

Andriï Iermak, the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, reported on his Telegram account “lively” discussions, focusing in particular on five key areas: food security, energy security, nuclear security, humanitarian issues and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Malta’s discussions must also focus on nuclear security – in particular that of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant – and the protection of the country’s energy infrastructure.

Food security issues, as Moscow hampers Ukrainian grain exports, and humanitarian issues, such as the release of prisoners or the return of Ukrainian children taken to Russia, are also on the agenda of the meeting.

Ukraine is bracing for a grueling winter after more than a year and a half of bloody war and deadly Russian bombings, with Kiev anticipating massive new strikes on its energy infrastructure as its counter-offensive has so far failed to penetrate deep into the Russian defenses.

The meeting was supposed to take place in a Middle Eastern country but was moved to Malta after the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel, according to a European diplomat.

With AFP


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