Summit on Peace: International Pressure on Russia Should Be Increased

Not all of the countries participating in the Summit on Peace reached an agreement, but it can be said that at least the groundwork has been laid for restoring peace and security to Ukraine.

The summit was held in Switzerland to discuss peace in Ukraine. The first meeting was attended by about 100 countries and international organizations, including Japan, the United States, European nations and emerging countries. Russia was not invited, and China was absent.

Prior to the summit, there were fears that a joint communique outlining points of agreement would not be adopted, because it was unclear whether emerging countries with close ties to Russia would cooperate. But in the end, 83 countries and organizations agreed to the joint communique.

Ukraine can be said to have achieved a certain level of success, as it aimed to gain the broadest possible support from the international community at the summit.

First, the joint communique explicitly stated that the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states should be respected, and it called for a ban on the threat or use of force.

The communique then set forth a policy of addressing three specific issues: the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, the free navigation of commercial vessels exporting agricultural products, and the return of children taken by Russia.

It is highly significant that many of the participating countries in the summit sent a message that they will not tolerate the barbaric acts of Russia, which is trying to seize another country’s territory by force. Japan, the United States and Europe need to strengthen their pressure on Russia in cooperation with related countries.

However, the latest summit left some issues unresolved. Of the 10-point peace plan proposed by Ukraine, seven items that would likely result in divided opinions, such as the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and the return of all territory, were not included in the communique.

Even so, countries including India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa did not sign the joint communique. They are believed to have wanted to avoid worsening relations with Russia — a situation that would have a negative impact on their own energy supply and security.

Some of the emerging countries that are former colonies are opposed to Western countries that lead the international order. However, if Russia’s aggression is allowed, the security of these countries could be threatened as well.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stressed at the summit the importance of “leading the entire international community toward a world of cooperation.” Japan has long supported the economic development of emerging countries and fostered trust with those nations. Japan should utilize these achievements and take the lead in fostering international public opinion to support Ukraine.

On the day before the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the complete withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from four provinces in the east and south of the country that Russia has unilaterally annexed, among other points, as a condition for peace negotiations.

This is essentially a demand for Ukraine to surrender, and it is out of the question.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 18, 2024)