In early August, Saudi Arabia is set to host a crucial peace summit, organized by Ukraine, with the aim of initiating negotiations to address Russia’s ongoing war on the country. A highly placed official disclosed this information on a Saturday night. Both Saudi Arabia and Kyiv, however, have yet to officially confirm the planned talks. The summit is scheduled to take place in the picturesque Red Sea port city of Jeddah.
According to the anonymous official, the summit will be attended by representatives from various nations, including Ukraine, Brazil, India, South Africa, and several others. Additionally, a high-level official from U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to be present at the event.
The event’s planning is under the supervision of Kyiv, and it is anticipated that Russia will not be participating in the summit. However, specific details regarding the summit and the dates for the talks are yet to be finalized. A report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that the talks are likely to occur on August 5 and 6, with approximately 30 countries in attendance, as per information from diplomats involved in the discussion.
This development marks a significant step following previous talks held in Copenhagen in June. For Saudi Arabia, hosting these peace talks represents an opportunity to showcase its diplomatic capabilities on the international stage. It comes in the aftermath of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s attendance at an Arab League summit in Jeddah in May, where he sought support from the participating nations for Kyiv.
Arab nations have largely maintained a neutral stance since Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine in February 2022. Their decision is partly influenced by their existing military and economic ties with Moscow. Notably, Saudi Arabia has also shared a close relationship with Russia as part of the OPEC+ group. Nevertheless, this alliance has led to tensions with the U.S., particularly concerning Russia’s actions against Ukraine, which have contributed to soaring energy prices worldwide.
Conducting the peace summit not only serves the purpose of addressing the crisis in Ukraine but also enhances the stature of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He has actively sought to improve relations with Iran and push for peace in Yemen, where the Kingdom has been embroiled in a protracted war.
However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that tensions persist between Riyadh and Western nations. The 2018 killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul remains a point of contention. U.S. intelligence agencies have implicated Prince Mohammed in the incident, straining relations with the West.
The upcoming peace summit in Jeddah, hosted by Saudi Arabia and organized by Ukraine, holds promise for international diplomacy. The meeting aims to address Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and initiate negotiations towards peace. However, the complexities of the region, Saudi Arabia’s ties with Russia, and ongoing tensions with the West pose significant challenges to achieving a lasting resolution.