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Saudi Arabia Will Host Talks About Ukraine’s Peace Plan, Diplomats Say

Saudi Arabia will host talks on Ukraine’s peace plan with several other countries this weekend in the coastal city of Jeddah, three foreign diplomats in the kingdom have said.

The diplomats, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the talks, said that several countries, including the United States and European nations, along with Brazil, China and India, had been invited, though it was not immediately clear who would attend.

Russia did not appear to be among those invited. The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said that “Russia will keep an eye on this meeting” but would need “to fully understand what goals are being set,” Russia’s state-run Tass news agency reported on Monday.

Many of the invited countries, and Saudi Arabia, have resisted American and European pressure to isolate Russia over its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

News of the talks was first reported on Saturday by The Wall Street Journal, which said that Saudi Arabia would host the meetings on Aug. 5 and 6. It follows a similar event in Copenhagen in June, The Journal reported.

On Sunday, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said that a meeting about implementing his country’s plan “to restore lasting and just peace” would be held in Saudi Arabia soon, with the attendance of world leaders’ national security and political advisers.

The 10-point Ukrainian plan aims to hold Russia accountable for war atrocities, and requires Moscow to surrender all captured Ukrainian territory and pay damages. Russia has rejected the plan.

The Saudi government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The meeting is another example of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to position himself as a global leader with influence beyond his region — and to carve out a role for the kingdom as a mediator. In May, Prince Mohammed invited President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make an appearance at a summit of Arab States, where the Ukrainian leader urged Middle Eastern nations to stand with his country against Russia and called out their reluctance to take sides in the war.

Like many countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia maintains close ties with Russia, which coordinates with the kingdom on energy prices as a key member of the OPEC Plus cartel of oil exporters.

The Biden administration has struggled to persuade Saudi Arabia and a number of other nations to isolate Russia as the Kremlin wages war in Ukraine.

The Journal reported that Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, was expected to participate in the coming talks, but the Biden administration has not yet commented.

Edward Wong contributed reporting.

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Mohammad SHiblu

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