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“On the Side of Diplomacy”
By German Foreign Policy 14/3/23
Mar 15, 2023 - 12:20:16 PM

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West will pressure Kiev to negotiate an end to the war in the fall, predicts the German Green Party’s parliamentary foreign policy spokesperson. Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia are already working toward peace.

German Green Party Parliamentary Foreign Policy Spokesperson Jürgen Trittin, predicts that, in the fall, the West will put heavy pressure on Ukraine to negotiate with Russia to end the war. The US administration recently sent out signals to this effect, Trittin reported. It would be unwise to continue the support for Kiev in the coming presidential elections, due to a change of mood within the US population. While this is an indication that Kiev must change course, several countries outside the transatlantic West are intensifying their mediation for a ceasefire. Brazil continues to promote peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Following his visits to Kiev and Moscow, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud confirmed that Riyadh is also pursuing such activities. According to reports, China’s President Xi Jinping is expected to arrive soon for talks in Russia and to subsequently hold talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. Unlike the West, Zelensky already welcomes the negotiation initiatives.

“Bring Peace”

Brazil’s government under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is systematically pursuing its efforts for a negotiated settlement of the Ukraine war. On March 1, Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. They not only discussed steps to expand bilateral cooperation,[1] but also the Ukraine conflict. Brazil is pushing for a ceasefire, while continuing to oppose Western sanctions, according to subsequent remarks.[2] The following day, on March 2, Lula had a conversation by video with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, wherein Lula reaffirmed Brazil’s desire “to speak with other countries and participate in whatever initiatives to promote peace and dialogue.”[3] For his part, Zelensky declared, “we highlighted the importance of upholding the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states” and we also discussed “diplomatic efforts to bring peace back to Ukraine and the world.” Zelensky confirmed his invitation to Lula to visit Kiev to personally continue negotiations.

Invest in Reconstruction

According to reports, during their video conversation Lula and Zelensky focused also on initial, more far-reaching steps. As Igor Zhovkva, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office declared, Kiev had long underestimated the “very important role” Latin America could play. There is now a willingness, to pay more attention to the subcontinent. Referring to the two presidents’ video conversation, the relations between Ukraine and Brazil could be “renewed not only at the political, but also at the economic level.”[4] It would be conceivable, for example, for Brazil to invest in Ukraine’s reconstruction following the war. It would also be possible to involve the nearly half a million Brazilians, whose ancestors had migrated at the end of the 19th century from what is today Ukraine.[5] Kiev and Brasília had already discussed strengthening their economic relations prior to Russia’s intervention, including the possibilities of Brazilian companies investing in Ukraine.[6] However, their talks at the time did not really bring results.

“A Reasonable Country”

China is now apparently also taking concrete steps toward a negotiated settlement. On February 24, the first anniversary of Russia’s intervention, Beijing presented a Twelve-Point-Plan for a “political settlement of the Ukraine Crisis”.[7] It has now been reported that President Xi Jinping will very soon travel to Moscow for negotiations – possibly already next week. The Russian government has clearly welcomed the essence of the Twelve-Point-Plan. It was also reported that following his visit to the Russian capital, Xi plans to speak to President Volodymyr Zelensky.[8] In contrast to Xi’s face-to-face meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the Zelensky meeting would probably be by video. As in the case of Brazil, substantial participation in the reconstruction of Ukraine is, in principle, also conceivable for the People’s Republic. Prior to the war, China was Ukraine’s largest trading partner and, in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it had invested in Ukraine’s infrastructure.[9] Presidential advisor Zhovkva has confirmed that in Kiev, the People’s Republic is seen as a “reasonable country in the context of future negotiations.”[10]

Saudi Arabia as Mediator

Saudi Arabia is becoming increasingly involved in the attempts to mediate negotiations. Already in the fall, Riyadh, which – like Brazil and China has had good relations with both Russia and Ukraine even prior to the war – was able to contribute to the exchange of prisoners of war between the two sides. On February 26, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Fahan al Saud went to Kiev for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba. He subsequently pledged an aid package worth US $400 million to Ukraine. It was also reported that they wanted to intensify their prospective business relations.[11] On March 9, Prince Faisal then met in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for talks, where, in the name of his country, he reiterated support for international efforts to find a political solution to the crisis.[12] From the beginning, Saudi Arabia had refused, in spite of massive pressure, to be compelled to choose sides in the Ukrainian war. Riyadh has strictly rejected expanding its oil production, to facilitate, at least theoretically, the global boycott of Russian oil.

“Difficult Decisions”

In the meantime, the signs are becoming more numerous that the West could be forced to back down in the Ukraine War. It was reported recently that given the change of mood within the US population – approval ratings for arms deliveries and financing of Ukraine are declining – the Biden administration, in preparation for the upcoming election campaign, is preparing to reduce its support for Kiev and, therefore, reorient toward future peace negotiations. There are signs of a change of course In Western Europe as well. French President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the Ukrainian president in the course of the latter’s visit to Paris that he must “begin considering peace talks with Moscow.” “Difficult decisions” must be taken.[13]
“A Half Truth, at Best”

Late last Week, the Green Party’s Parliamentary Foreign Policy Spokesperson, Jürgen Trittin, publicly followed suit. The “assurance ... that Kiev, alone, will determine the moment for its negotiations with Moscow,” also popular in Berlin, is “a half-truth, at best,” wrote Trittin in an op ed. After all Ukraine is dependent on Western support and must therefore bow to Western demands, when in doubt. The USA has already given clear “signals” that in the fall, it would “increase pressure to end combat.” Germany must also be prepared. That will not “mean the end of aid to Ukraine.” Trittin noted, “Ukraine needs reliable security guarantees, and bringing Ukraine closer to the EU must be paid for by the Europeans – above all the Germans.” In view of US presidential elections in late 2024 – that is totally independent of “who will be sitting in the White House,” according to Trittin.[14]

[1] Lavrov, Brazilian FM reaffirm countries’ intention to strengthen relations – statement. tass.com 01.03.2023.

[2] Igor Gielow: Rússia diz entender condenação do Brasil à guerra e enviará chanceler. folha.uol.com.br 01.03.2023.

[3] Guilherme Mazui, Pedro Henrique Gomes, Ricardo Abreu: Em conversa por video, Lula reafirma proposta do ‘clube da paz’, e Zelensky convida o brasileiro para visitor a Ucrânia. g1.globo.com 02.03.2023.

[4] José Pedro Frazão: Ucrânia disposta a negociar com Rússia após retirada de Moscovo. rfi.fr 10.03.2023.

[5] Bibiana Dionísio: Comunidade ucraniana comemora 120 anos de imigração para o Brasil. g1.globo.com 22.05.2011.

[6] President of Ukraine discussed the possibility of increasing trade between the countries with the President of Brazil. president.gov.ua 22.10.2019.

[7] See also Auf der Seite des Krieges.

[8] Keith Zhai: China’s Xi to Speak to Zelensky, Meet Next Week With Putin. wsj.com 13.03.2023.

[9] Valbona Zeneli, Nataliia Haluhan: Why China is Setting its Sights on Ukraine. thediplomat.com 04.10.2019.

[10] José Pedro Frazão: Ucrânia disposta a negociar com Rússia após retirada de Moscovo. rfi.fr 10.03.2023.

[11] Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal meets Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy in Kyiv. thenationalnews.com 26.02.2023.

[12] Ismaeel Naar: Saudi Arabia pledges to mediate in Russia-Ukraine war during Moscow visit. thenationalnews.com 09.03.2023.

[13] See also „Untragbare Opfer”.

[14] Jürgen Trittin: Die Ukraine braucht belastbare Sicherheitsgarantien – und die werden vor allem die Deutschen bezahlen müssen. handelsblatt.com 10.03.2023.

Source:Ocnus.net 2023

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