18:53 09.01.2024

USA, allies meet secretly with Ukraine on peace plan – Bloomberg

2 min read

A secret meeting took place in December between Ukraine, its Group of Seven allies and a small group of Global South countries to try to rally support for Kyiv's conditions for holding peace talks with Russia, Bloomberg has reported.

"The previously undisclosed Dec. 16 meeting of national security advisers was held in Saudi Arabia and followed larger, publicized gatherings aimed at countering Moscow's attempts to divide and paint Ukraine and its allies as unwilling to negotiate an end to the war," it said.

The secrecy was aimed in part at making participant countries feel more comfortable about joining.

"The smaller format allowed for a freer, more frank discussion on Ukraine's so-called peace formula and plans for moving that process forward as well as principles for potentially engaging with Russia in future, the people said," the agency said.

According to Bloomberg's sources, there was no major progress at the latest meeting, held in Riyadh. Ukraine and its G-7 allies continued to resist calls from the Global South nations to engage directly with Russia.

While top officials from India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey joined the December meeting in Riyadh, other major Global South nations who had come to some of the previous larger sessions — notably China, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates — did not send their representatives, the people said.

Beijing is seen by many of the participating countries as key to influencing Moscow given close ties between the two. Brazil, which is presiding over this year's Group of 20, contributed a written statement.

Kyiv and its G-7 allies reaffirmed their view that a just peace needs to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin's goals hadn't changed and he's shown no sign of being serious about wanting substantive negotiations and has failed to respect past agreements. The allies made clear they will continue backing Ukraine, and the EU and the United States said they were confident that the support packages would be agreed.