Ukraine Summit in Jeddah; Aims and Achievements

2023/08/15 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - Interview: An expert on international affairs considered the Jeddah summit on the Ukraine crisis a step in the direction of efforts of Riyadh to display its independent international approach as much as possible and emphasized: By holding such meetings, Saudi Arabia tries to prepare the ground for the interaction of different groups, regardless of whether the talks lead to a result or not, to succeed in maintaining the interaction and communication channel with the relevant players, and strengthen the possibility of playing a so-called mediating and independent role.

In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Hormoz Jafari considered the holding of the Jeddah summit to examine the peace between Russia and Ukraine, in which representatives from 42 countries of the world were present, as a success for Saudi diplomacy and stated: Until a year ago, Mohammed bin Salman was considered responsible for the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi, was ostracized in the international community, and few people allowed themselves to interact with him, but in the current situation, he managed to be a mediator and an innovator in promoting peace, that is to say, between Russia as a central power of the East and Ukraine, which NATO seriously supports under the leadership of the United States, and in this regard, hosts the representatives of 42 countries.

He said: This is a serious development in creating an image for Mohammed bin Salman as the crown prince who will become the king of Saudi Arabia. In addition, he has been able to introduce himself at the regional and international level as a justified supporter of peace in a serious international crisis, at the level of the Ukraine crisis, and following the agreement with Iran and peace of mind from Yemen, bring together the representatives of more than 40 countries with different views, which is a significant success for Saudi Arabia.

The expert on international affairs recalled that since Obama’s presidency, Saudi Arabia has been trying to show a more independent approach by reforming the policy of following the US and has intensified this effort in recent years, and continued: Mohammed bin Salman, especially, in this direction, made more efforts to create a balance in his foreign interactions in relations with the East and the West. Just as, despite the US pressure, Riyadh did not shrink from its policy of interacting with OPEC+ and directly and indirectly accompanying Russian policies to maintain the global oil price.

Saying that Saudi Arabia has tried to maintain its relations with Russia in addition to the financial aid it has given to Ukraine, Jafari added: Although the Russians were not present at the Jeddah meeting, what seemed more prominent was the presence of countries that mostly did not follow the Western interpretation of the Ukraine crisis. The presence of Brazil, South Africa, India, and China in this meeting was significant; meanwhile, the Chinese, who were not present at the Copenhagen meeting on the Ukraine crisis, decided to send a representative to the meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia.

The expert on international affairs stated that the announcement of the position of those countries regarding the necessity of preserving the territorial integrity of Ukraine by emphasizing the United Nations Charter was an essential achievement for Kyiv. The summit was evaluated in the interest of Ukraine, noting that the failure to issue a final statement at the Jeddah summit is a sign of a wide range of countries’ interests in their relations with Russia and Ukraine. Forty-two countries have different views, and the dependence of African countries on Russian policies regarding grain export cannot be placed next to the American approach to the Ukraine crisis. Beijing also has its own considerations and is basically one of the main players that benefited from the war in Ukraine. Therefore, this broad spectrum did not allow for issuing a joint statement.

The analyst of international issues called the Jeddah summit a step in the direction of efforts of Riyadh to display as much as possible an independent international approach and said: In the Jeddah summit, countries that did not have much cooperation with the US in condemning and punishing Russia were present and this did not bring significant results for Ukraine and added: Certainly, the Ukraine crisis cannot be resolved without the presence of Russia. Russia is trying to change the recognized international borders based on recognized rules and regulations by military occupation, so the meetings held in the name of peace, without the presence of that country, cannot lead to a result, and this was an important weakness of that meeting.

Saying that Saudi Arabia keeps the Russians informed about the process of the summit and the talks in this meeting, regarding Russia’s position, which has considered the Jeddah talks as “defeated efforts from the West,” Jafari added: Saudi Arabia, before anything else, more than is an ally of Russia, is an ally of the West and still, the weight of Riyadh’s interactions with the US and European countries is heavier. However, Saudi Arabia tries to keep both sides for itself and benefit from the competition between the Russian and American sides.

The expert on international affairs, referring to the statements of Ukrainian officials who said that their 10-point peace plan presented in Jeddah received more support than the amount of support in Copenhagen, as well as the words of Russian officials that the Ukrainian peace plan in Jeddah has faced a complete failure, said: Jeddah meeting will not lead to peace in Ukraine, but in general, this meeting was analyzed more in line with the support of Ukraine’s positions, because Russia did not see this meeting in its interest, and basically was not present in it. However, the position of Saudi Arabia was an intermediate position.

Jafari stated that the type of Saudi acting in this regard was generally more important. One of the policies of Saudi Arabia is that regardless of whether the talks lead to a result or not, by holding such meetings, Saudi Arabia tries to prepare the ground for the interaction of different groups, regardless of whether the talks lead to a result or not, to succeed in maintaining the interaction and communication channel with the relevant players, and strengthen the possibility of playing a so-called mediating and independent role.

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