Jeddah Talks Reflects Realistic Approach of the New Saudi Arabia than Western Democracies
Jeddah talks, which saw participation of respective leaders from 42 countries, are the Saudi Arabia’s latest diplomatic initiative to negotiate a ceasefire and bring Russia and Ukraine to the table for dialogue. Saturday’s meeting follows the June Copenhagen talks which did not yield a final declaration. Africa’s Ukraine-Russia Peace Mission also failed to bring the two conflicted countries to a truce.
Despite the two-day meeting in Saudi Arabia ending without any concrete announcement, it shows the kingdom’s commitment in favor of peace. Andriy Yermak, head of staff for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said they had very productive consultations on the key principles on which a just and lasting peace should be built.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov was not so optimistic or non-supportive of the talks. He said the meeting in Jeddah was a reflection of western attempts to continue futile, doomed-to-failure efforts to mobilize the international community, or the Global South, even if not entirely, to support the so-called Zelensky formula, which is doomed and unworkable from the outset.
Yermak said they had an extremely honest, open conversation wherein representatives of each country voiced their position and vision. “There were different views, but all the participants demonstrated their countries’ commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and inviolability of the territorial integrity of states.”
Oleksandr Merezhko, Ukrainian MP and head of foreign relations committee in the Ukrainian parliament, said the very fact of the start of these negotiations is already an important historical event. He believes its evidence that not only the countries of the West, but also countries of the Global South seek peace, which would be based on the concessions of the aggressor, but on the UN Charter and international law.
Moreover, the weekend summit highlights Riyadh’s readiness to exert its good offices to contribute to reaching a solution that will result in permanent peace. Umar Karim, an expert on Saudi politics at the University of Birmingham, says the kingdom has adopted a classic balancing strategy that could soften Russia’s response to the Jeddah talks. It is also evidence of Saudi Arabia’s global clout and vindication of its emphasis on diversifying diplomatic partners.
The talks are a primary example of the success of Saudi Arabia’s multipolar strategy of maintaining strong ties to Ukraine, Russia and China.