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78 countries agree territorial integrity of Ukraine must be basis of peace deal

The joint communique capped a two-day conference at the Burgenstock resort in Switzerland marked by the absence of Russia, which was not invited.

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Swiss Federal President Viola Amherd and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the closing news conference of the peace summit

Almost 80 countries have jointly called for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s war, though some key developing nations at a Swiss conference did not sign up.

The joint communique on Sunday capped a two-day conference at the Burgenstock resort in Switzerland marked by the absence of Russia, which was not invited, but that many attendees hoped could join in on a road map to peace.

About 100 delegations, mostly Western countries but also some key developing nations, took part in the conference – and experts were watching to see how and if at all they might line up behind the outcome document.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen on the screen during the plenary session of the peace summit in Switzerland (Urs Flueeler/Keystone/AP)

Participants India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among those that did not sign up to the final document, which focused on issues of nuclear safety, food security and the exchange of prisoners.

The final document, agreed by 78 nations, said the UN Charter and “respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty … can and will serve as a basis for achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine”.

Analysts say the two-day conference is likely to have little concrete impact towards ending the war because the country leading and continuing it, Russia, was not invited – for now.

Its key ally, China, which did not attend, and Brazil, which was at the meeting as an observer, have jointly sought to plot alternative routes toward peace.

The meeting also endeavoured to return a spotlight to the war at a time when conflict in Gaza, national elections and other concerns have seized global attention.

The three themes of nuclear safety, food security and prisoner exchanges featured in the final statement.

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Italian PM Giorgia Meloni said the three themes of nuclear safety, food security and prisoner exchanges amount to ‘minimum conditions’ for negotiations with Russia (Alessandro Della Valle/Keystone/AP)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said they amount to “minimum conditions” for negotiations with Russia, alluding to how many other areas of disagreement between Kyiv and Moscow will be harder to overcome.

Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, noted a day earlier that his rich Gulf country hosted talks with both Ukrainian and Russian delegations on the reunification of Ukrainian children with their families that has so far resulted in 34 children being reunited.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking to reporters at the resort on Saturday, said it is “going to take work” and countries stepping up to build on efforts by nations like Qatar.

“It’s going to take a spotlight from the international community, not just from only voices from the United States or Europe, but from unusual voices as well to say what Russia has done here is more than reprehensible and must be reversed,” he said.

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US security adviser Jake Sullivan a peace deal is ‘going to take work’ (Alessandro della Valle/Keystone/AP)

The Ukrainian government believes that 19,546 children have been deported or forcibly displaced, and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova has previously confirmed that at least 2,000 were taken from Ukrainian orphanages.

Montenegro Prime Minister Milojko Spajic told the gathering on Sunday: “As a father of three, I’m deeply concerned by thousands of Ukrainian kids forcibly transferred to Russia or Russia-occupied territories of Ukraine.”

“We all at this table need to do more so that children of Ukraine are back in Ukraine,” he added.

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