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India to attend Ukraine talks hosted by Saudi Arabia

By, New Delhi
Aug 03, 2023 11:57 PM IST

Brazil, China, the United States, Ukraine and several European countries have been invited to the meeting

India on Thursday confirmed its participation in a meeting being hosted by Saudi Arabia this weekend to find a way to end the war in Ukraine, saying this is in line with the country’s position that dialogue and diplomacy is the way forward.

Brazil, China, the United States, Ukraine and several European countries have been invited to the meeting to be held in the coastal city of Jeddah during August 5-6. Russia hasn’t been invited to the talks (File photo)
Brazil, China, the United States, Ukraine and several European countries have been invited to the meeting to be held in the coastal city of Jeddah during August 5-6. Russia hasn’t been invited to the talks (File photo)

Brazil, China, the United States, Ukraine and several European countries have been invited to the meeting to be held in the coastal city of Jeddah during August 5-6. Russia hasn’t been invited to the talks.

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India is expected to be represented by National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. US NSA Jake Sullivan and top security officials and political advisers of other countries will also join the talks.

“India has been invited to attend a meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia on Ukraine in Jeddah on August 5 and 6. India will participate in this event and our participation is in consonance with our long-standing position that dialogue and diplomacy is the way forward,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a regular media briefing.

However, he declined to comment on the level of India’s participation. Bagchi also said India has no plans to host any meeting on Ukraine during the upcoming G20 Summit in September. “If other countries are meeting in New Delhi on Ukraine, I can’t comment on that,” he said.

The talks in Jeddah will focus on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace plan, according to the Ukrainian leader’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak. The peace formula, first outlined by Zelenskyy at last year’s G20 Summit, contains 10 points whose implementation “will not only ensure peace for Ukraine, but also create mechanisms to counter future conflicts”, Yermak said.

The meeting in Jeddah follows similar talks held in Copenhagen in June and is expected to lead to a larger meeting later this year where global leaders would agree on principles for ending the Ukraine war. Yermak said Zelenskyy wants to unite the world around Ukraine. “We are engaging countries from the west, east, north and south,” he added.

The 10-point peace plan includes withdrawal of Russian troops, cessation of hostilities, restoration of Ukraine’s borders, food security, including ensuring grain exports, release of all prisoners, and nuclear safety with a focus on restoring security around Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

It also aims to hold Russia accountable for atrocities and requires Moscow to pay damages. Russia has already rejected the plan.

The meeting in Jeddah will provide an opportunity for Ukraine’s backers, such as the US, and other countries that haven’t taken sides to align their positions on the conflict, the people said. Like India, Saudi Arabia and several other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have not publicly censured Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

India has consistently called for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states and pushed for diplomacy and dialogue to end the fighting. At the same time, India, as the G20 president, has faced problems in efforts to find text to refer to the Ukraine crisis in the leaders’ declaration to be adopted at the summit of the world’s 20 largest economies. Russia has said the text used in leaders’ declaration in last year’s G20 Summit is no longer acceptable, while China has opposed any geopolitical content in the joint communique.

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