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Switzerland will host a Ukraine peace conference in June and hopes Russia can join one day

Switzerland will host a Ukraine peace conference in June and hopes Russia can join one day

GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland’s government said Wednesday it will host a high-level international conference in June to help chart a path toward peace in Ukraine after more than two years of war, in hopes that Russia might join in the peace process one day.

The lakeside Bürgenstock resort is expected to host the June 15-16 gathering. It’s expected to draw top government officials from dozens of countries, following on a plan laid out by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis in recent months.

Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported Wednesday that U.S. President Joe Biden, who is expected to attend a G7 summit in neighboring Italy on June 13-15, could attend.

The Swiss government said early talks toward arranging the conference involved the European Union and envoys from the so-called Global South, including Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

“At its meeting today, the Federal Council took note of the results to date and discussed the next steps. There is currently sufficient international support for a high-level conference to launch the peace process,” the federal government in Bern said in a statement.

It acknowledged “some unknowns” leading up to the conference, “but in view of Switzerland’s long-standing diplomatic tradition and the encouraging feedback received during the exploratory phase, it considers it its responsibility to contribute to the peace process in Ukraine.”

Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press