Switzerland Conference marks first step toward peace, security in Europe

On June 15-16, 2024, the inaugural Global Summit on Peace in Ukraine will take place in Switzerland, on the picturesque slopes of the Bürgenstock Hotel over Lake Lucerne. Although Russia was not invited, the event will see representatives from 107 countries and international organizations, who have confirmed participation. These include Germany, Italy, Canada, and France. Among the high-level participants will be European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The initiative put forward by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to create a platform for dialogue aimed at ending the war, restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity and ensuring security in the region is quite understandable. Endless Russian strikes and occupation of Ukrainian territories lead to civilian deaths and drastic deterioration of living conditions in the country.

Particular attention is paid to engaging countries of the Global South that are important economic partners for Russia and could influence the latter’s ability to further sustain the war effort. Their opinions and voices must be heard. Based on the outcome of the Summit, it will be possible to plan the next session, with Russia’s participation, where peace proposals will be finalized and adjusted.

More than two years into Russia’s full-scale incursion into Ukraine, the war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, also making many Ukrainian children orphans and throwing many able adults into the grip of poverty. The war has affected global law and order, the economy and welfare of other countries, as both sides of the conflict receive support from allied nations. Stopping the bloodshed, restoring peace, balance and security in the region, and thereby across the world, can only be done collectively.

Geopolitical leaders must sit down at the negotiating table and explore compromises and guarantees that would restore the stability of the international order. The peace summit that launches its work on June 15 offers a perfect opportunity, based on the experience of this year’s first half and looking into the second one, to create the foundation for de-escalating tensions and preserving human lives.