Amidst the scorching heat of the world’s most torrid summer on record, Saudi Arabia’s historic port city of Jeddah may seem an unlikely candidate to quell the intensity of the ongoing and fierce conflict in Ukraine. However, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, often referred to as MBS, envisions a role in alleviating the turmoil. Having played a part in the release of Western foreign combatants detained by Russian forces during the Ukraine conflict last year, MBS now aspires to facilitate discussions toward peace in the region.
For Ukraine, the choice of venue is perceived as a significant advantage that undermines Russia’s narrative portraying Ukraine’s support as limited solely to Western countries. This gathering is anticipated to draw representation from as many as 40 nations, including prominent participants like the United States and India.
In the lead-up to the summit, Ukrainian officials have expressed their objectives, outlining their intent to establish a unified vision and formulate strategies for the prospective Global Peace Summit, a crucial component of Ukraine’s overarching peace plan. The summit in Saudi Arabia is seen as a pivotal opportunity to forge international consensus and support.
However, the absence of Moscow’s direct participation, with Russia only agreeing to “monitor” the proceedings, threatens to relegate the summit to a transient phenomenon, akin to a fleeting desert snowflake—remarkable and evanescent.
Nevertheless, Ukrainian officials remain cautiously optimistic, holding onto the belief that this event possesses the potential to rally global solidarity behind Ukraine’s quest for stability and tranquility. The White House is also throwing its weight behind the summit, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan set to attend.
While the intense focus on the Ukrainian conflict may not immediately evoke thoughts of a peaceful resolution in Jeddah’s sweltering climate, the Saudi summit serves as a symbolic gesture, indicative of the international community’s aspirations to defuse tensions and promote a collective endeavor toward enduring peace in Ukraine. As representatives from diverse nations convene to deliberate, the summit has the potential to shape the trajectory of the conflict, even as it faces challenges and uncertainties along the way.