President Pavel on Swiss summit: The show of unity was of crucial importance

The two-day peace summit on Ukraine held in Switzerland over the weekend was attended by 93 countries from around the world. Russia and China were notably absent. And the BRICS member states present failed to sign the joint declaration on the agreement reached. So how effective will it be in paving the ground for peace-talks and what was the Czech contribution to the debate? 

Photo: Zuzana Bönisch,  Office of the President

The joint declaration, signed by 80 countries, reflected the basic agreements reached in the course of the two-day debate. Most importantly, it stated that the "territorial integrity" of Ukraine must be the basis for any future peace agreement. It called for the release of war prisoners and the return of all deported and displaced Ukrainian children, and further stressed that nuclear energy installations in Ukraine must be kept safe.

The BRICS member states present at the summit such as Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India, as well as several others, did not sign the declaration. Russia was not invited and China ignored the invitation to attend. So how effective was the two- day meeting?

Photo: Zuzana Bönisch,  Office of the President

President Petr Pavel who led the Czech delegation to the talks, said it was important in the overwhelming number of countries who expressed support for the UN charter, the right of self-defense and the need to preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The next step he said was to get China on board.

Petr Pavel and Volodymyr Zelensky | Photo: Zuzana Bönisch,  Office of the President

“The fact that some states did not sign the final declaration does not automatically mean that they are in opposition. They were there and they heard our arguments. They saw the vast majority of states standing behind the UN Charter. The stronger this unity is, the bigger the chance that China will not want to remain isolated in a small group of states that do not respect international law and will agree to join the negotiations in a more constructive way. And the moment that happens, then Russia will most likely feel that the time has come to take part in these negotiations as well."

Participants in the Ukraine peace summit agreed to continue the debate in working groups so as to cover various aspects of an international “action plan for peace". Czechia co-chaired the working group on nuclear safety. The country’s main expert at the talks was Dana Drabova, head of the State Office for Nuclear Safety.

Petr Pavel and Dana Drábová | Photo: Zuzana Bönisch,  Office of the President

"Before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the country operated fifteen nuclear units and was the seventh largest producer of nuclear electricity in the world. It still operates nine nuclear units, even after the Zaporizhzhya plant was occupied by Russian forces and shut down. We need to assist those that are in operation, to ensure adequate supplies of spare parts and adequate maintenance, because Ukraine will badly need those plants in the winter months.”

As President Pavel pointed out it is essential to prevent a global nuclear disaster. Not only would it cost millions of lives and contaminate the environment, but it would lead to a massive loss of trust in nuclear energy as one of the clean sources of power that could help the world achieve its climate goals in the future.

Author: Daniela Lazarová | Sources: Český rozhlas , Česká televize
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