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Global South Nations' Attendance Uncertain at Ukraine Summit Amid Broader Peace Talks

45 leaders to attend Ukraine summit, but key Global South nations remain unconfirmed.

By Athena Xu

6/10, 06:03 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • Ukraine summit in Switzerland will see participation from 90 countries, with half represented by heads of state or government.
  • Key Global South nations like China, Brazil, and South Africa have not confirmed attendance, raising concerns about the summit's effectiveness.
  • The conference will focus on nuclear safety, food security, freedom of navigation, and humanitarian issues as a first step toward broader peace talks.

Ukraine Summit Attendance

Swiss officials announced that approximately 90 countries will attend the Ukraine summit this weekend, although key nations from the Global South have yet to confirm their participation. "The list of participants is fluid until the last day," stated President Viola Amherd during a press briefing in Bern. Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis added that about half of the participating countries will be represented at the level of heads of state or government. A final list of attendees will be published on Friday evening.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy initially requested Switzerland to organize the talks to garner support, especially from countries beyond Ukraine's traditional Western allies. The summit aims to address a broad set of demands, including the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. However, the June 15-16 gathering in Lucerne, Switzerland, appears to be falling short of these ambitions. China declined to attend due to Switzerland's refusal to invite Russia, and Brazil and South Africa have yet to confirm their attendance. While India will be present, it is unlikely that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will personally attend. Turkey, which facilitated initial talks between Ukraine and Russia shortly after the invasion began, will also be present.

Summit Focus Areas

The conference will concentrate on a narrow set of objectives, including nuclear safety, food security, freedom of navigation, and humanitarian issues, according to a government statement. This focus aligns with an earlier report by Bloomberg. The Swiss government emphasized that the conference should be viewed as the first step in a peace process that will eventually include Russia. Foreign Minister Cassis mentioned that discussions are ongoing regarding which country will lead the next phase of talks and organize a follow-up conference.

Global South Participation

The absence of key countries from the Global South, such as China, Brazil, and South Africa, raises questions about the summit's effectiveness in achieving its broader goals. China's decision not to attend stems from Switzerland's refusal to invite Russia, a significant player in the conflict. Brazil and South Africa's lack of confirmation further complicates the situation. Despite these challenges, the presence of India and Turkey indicates some level of global engagement. The Swiss government remains optimistic that the summit will lay the groundwork for future peace talks, even if the initial gathering does not meet all of its ambitious objectives.