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Japanese Politician on Swiss-Hosted Ukraine Talks: Not Peaceful as Only One Side Represented

CC BY-SA 4.0 / Alexey Komarov / Lucerne, Switzerland
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TOKYO (Sputnik) - From June 15-16, Switzerland will host the high-level meeting at a resort near Lucerne. About 90 states and organizations confirmed their participation. Russia has not received an invitation, but even if it did, it would not attend the conference, spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Bern, Vladimir Khokhlov, told Sputnik in April.
A conference to settle a crisis where only one side of the conflict is represented is not peaceful, former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told Sputnik, commenting on the conference on Ukraine hosted by Switzerland.
"If this is a peace conference, then until both countries are involved [in it], peace cannot be built. This is a peaceful support group conference. This will not only not lead to the building of peace, but on the contrary may lead to a prolongation of the war. The most important thing is that both countries Ukraine and Russia seriously discuss and make efforts to stop hostilities as soon as possible. There is no Russia, no China in the conference. A peace conference in which there is only one side is not peaceful in the true sense of the word," the ex-prime minister said.
Japanese lawmaker Muneo Suzuki, who was criticized last fall for his surprise visit to Russia, told Sputnik that an attempt to resolve the Ukraine conflict relying only on what Kiev says was "nonsense."
"It is called a 'peace conference,' but it is not a peace conference. From my point of view, it is in a way to challenge Russia. Because it would be the right thing to invite Russia and sit at the negotiation table as equals. Then it would be a proper conference. The sole fact that the summit is being led by Ukraine suggests that it is not to be commended. There is a manipulation of international opinion. Until both sides, not only Ukraine, but also Russia, have talked to each other, this problem will not be solved. An attempt to resolve [the conflict] only on the basis of what Ukraine says is nonsense," Suzuki said.
However, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said that his country "takes responsibility" for not inviting Russia to a peace conference on Ukraine after discussing the issue "with many countries."

"This is our choice; we take responsibility for it. As the host state, we were responsible for whether to invite or not. We discussed this with many countries, not only Western ones. We weighed the risks," Cassis told a briefing on Monday when asked why Switzerland decided not to send an invitation to Russia.

Cassis added that, on the one hand, some countries of the Global South demanded Russia's presence, but on the other hand, Switzerland did not want to risk Kiev's participation by inviting Moscow.
This goes against earlier statements by the Swiss Foreign Ministry. In January, it said that Russia must be included in the peace process in Ukraine; otherwise, "there will be no peace." Moreover, in mid-May, the ministry again expressed the same views on resolving the crisis.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 21.05.2024
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Though more than 160 delegations from around the world have been invited to attend the event, not all of them agreed to come. Saudi Arabia will not attend the conference since Russia will not be represented, according to German news agency DPA, which cited Saudi diplomatic sources. China will not take part either for the same reasons, adding that Beijing will continue to promote the peace talks by maintaining engagement with all sides. South Africa and Brazil have also declined attendance.
Interestingly, neither will US President Joe Biden come to Switzerland. However, his country will be represented by Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Commenting on the Swiss conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the forum is an attempt to impose conditions on Moscow, which will fail, just like the attempt to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov echoed Putin, saying that the goal of the conference is to formulate ultimatums to Russia, adding that the West is not showing its readiness for a "serious conversation" on peace since it continues to make calls to supply Kiev with more weapons, allowing strikes on the Russian territory.