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Ukraine, Switzerland Prepare Meeting to Push Peace Formula

(Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his government is working with Switzerland to hold a high-level peace conference in the Alpine nation as Kyiv seeks to recruit allies for a peace blueprint.

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The Ukrainian leader, speaking after arriving in Switzerland en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, said all countries that respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be invited, including nations in the so-called Global South, as well as China.

“They are playing a big role in the world,” Zelenskiy, speaking alongside Swiss President Viola Amherd, said of China on Monday. “That’s why we would really like for China to be involved in our formula, also to be involved in the summit, definitely.”

Zelenskiy and Amherd spoke outside the Swiss capital Bern. Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang was received at the same venue by the Swiss president earlier in the day. Swiss and Ukrainian authorities had declined to comment on whether Li and Zelenskiy had met.

“We have agreed that from tomorrow, our teams will start working on the details,” Amherd said. Russia, as in previous formats, would not be invited, Zelenskiy said.

A meeting of national security advisers focused on Ukraine’s peace formula ended in Davos a day before with no clear path forward. Kyiv had hoped the meeting in the Swiss mountain town would help build backing for its 10-point peace plan.

Zelenskiy will head to talks with political and business leaders at the WEF. In Davos, he will try to rally support for his nation after Ukraine failed to meet its objectives in last year’s counteroffensive and faces uncertainty over wartime funding from the US and European Union.

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who co-chaired the meeting on Sunday, said neither Ukraine nor Russia, which was not invited to the discussion, is prepared to make territorial concessions.

Ukraine seeks two leader-level meetings this year to discuss and back the so-called peace formula, but so far no date was set.

After the counteroffensive yielded few results, Zelenskiy said last week that a key priority for 2024 is to prevent the war from turning into a frozen conflict, which would give Russia time to replenish its military power.

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