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Switzerland invites pope to global peace summit

Switzerland invites pope to global peace summit

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Switzerland has invited Pope Francis to attend the upcoming global peace summit dedicated to ending the war in Ukraine, Swiss President Viola Amherd said in an interview with the news outlet Blick published May 5.

The summit will be held on June 15-16 in central Switzerland, and 160 national delegations will be invited to the talks.

Amherd met with the pope during a visit to Italy and called the conversation an “interesting exchange…in a cordial atmosphere.”

“We talked in particular about the war in Ukraine and other trouble spots in the world,” Amherd said.

Amherd confirmed that Switzerland officially invited the pope to participate in the June summit.

“The Vatican is very positive about the peace conference,” she said.

Pope Francis called for Russia and Ukraine to exchange all prisoners of war during a Catholic Easter sermon on March 31.

“Calling for respect for the principles of international law, I express desire for a general exchange of all prisoners between Russia and Ukraine: all for all!” Pope Francis said.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 3 that Ukraine is considering such an exchange, and will discuss the topic of an all-for-all prisoner swap at the global peace summit in June.

Ukraine has not always welcomed the Vatican’s commentary on Russia’s full-scale invasion. Pope Francis drew criticism from Zelensky and other European leaders when he urged Ukraine on March 9 to negotiate peace terms with Russia.

The June peace summit will be centered around Ukraine’s 10-point peace formula, a plan first outlined by Zelensky in fall 2022 that calls for a complete withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied Ukrainian lands.

Russia has not been invited to participate in the global peace summit, and Moscow has said it would refuse to attend even if invited.

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