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Eighty countries at the Swiss conference say Ukraine’s territorial integrity must be the basis of any peace deal

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a plenary session during the Ukraine Peace Summit in Obbürgen, Switzerland, on June 16.Urs Flueeler/The Associated Press

Eighty countries jointly called on Sunday for Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” to be the basis for any peace deal to end Russia’s war, although some key developing countries opted out at a Swiss conference.

The joint communiqué capped a two-day conference at the Burgenstock resort in Switzerland, marked by the absence of Russia, which was not invited but many attendees hoped could help build a roadmap to peace.

Leaders from many Western countries and other countries, including Ecuador, Somalia and Kenya, gathered in the Swiss resort of Bürgenstock to outline their vision of what peace could one day look like in Ukraine. Many hope Russia will join one day, but say the country must agree to respect Ukrainian territory – about a quarter of which is occupied.

“If we return to a global system in which the organizing principle is ‘might is right’, the independence we enjoy today as free nations will be in serious jeopardy,” Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said, as the leader’s speeches for were continued on the second day. . “This is an existential issue.”

Analysts say the two-day conference is likely to have little concrete impact on ending the war because the country leading and perpetuating the war, Russia, was not invited for the time being. Its main ally, China, which was not present, and Brazil, which attended the meeting as an ‘observer’, have jointly tried to chart alternative routes to peace.

The meeting also sought to bring back attention to the war at a time when the conflict in Gaza, national elections and other concerns have captured global attention.

The three themes of nuclear safety, food security and prisoner exchange would be addressed in a final statement. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said this amounted to “minimum conditions” for negotiations with Russia, hinting at how many other areas of disagreement between Kiev and Moscow will be harder to overcome.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani noted a day earlier how his wealthy Gulf country hosted talks with both Ukrainian and Russian delegations on the reunification of Ukrainian children with their families, which have so far resulted in the reunification of 34 children.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking to reporters at the resort on Saturday, said it “will take work” and that countries will step up efforts to build on the efforts of countries like Qatar.

“It will take the attention of the international community, not just from just voices from the United States or Europe, but also from unusual voices to say that what Russia has done here is beyond reprehensible and must be reversed,” he said.

The Ukrainian government believes 19,546 children have been deported or forcibly displaced, and Russian children’s rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova has previously confirmed that at least 2,000 children have been taken from Ukrainian orphanages.

Prime Minister Milojko Spajic of Montenegro said at the meeting on Sunday: “As a father of three children, I am deeply concerned about the thousands of Ukrainian children who have been forcibly transferred to Russia or the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine.”

“All of us at this table must do more so that Ukraine’s children come back to Ukraine,” he added.