Biden finally avoids Zelensky’s Switzerland ‘Peace Summit’

Biden, Peace summit, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky

In a decision that has stirred controversy and speculation, President Joe Biden has chosen to skip an international “peace summit” proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Instead, Biden will be sending Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to represent the United States at the summit, which is scheduled to take place in Lucerne, Switzerland on June 15. The President himself will be attending a high-profile Hollywood fundraiser.

The “Summit on Peace in Ukraine” was conceived by Zelensky as a platform to garner international support for Ukraine’s position amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. Despite the significance of the event for Ukraine, notable absences will include Russian representatives, who were not invited, and Chinese officials, who have declined to participate.

Kirsten Allen, spokesperson for Vice President Harris, confirmed her participation in the summit. “Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Lucerne, Switzerland on June 15 to participate in the Summit on Peace in Ukraine,” Allen stated. She emphasized that this attendance underscores the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s quest for a just and lasting peace.

Kamala Harris will be joined by Jake Sullivan, whose presence further signifies the strategic importance of the summit to the US. The venue for the event is the Burgenstock resort, a location chosen for its seclusion and ability to host high-level diplomatic discussions.

President Biden’s travel plans for the same period include attending the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings in France and participating in part of the G7 summit, scheduled for June 13-15 in the south of Italy. These commitments have fueled speculation that Biden might make a brief visit to Switzerland or arrange a meeting with Zelensky elsewhere in Europe.

However, the White House’s announcement on Monday put an end to such conjecture, confirming that Biden would prioritize attending a political fundraiser in Hollywood over the peace summit. The fundraiser, headlined by actor George Clooney, is expected to feature other celebrities such as actress Julia Roberts and former President Barack Obama. This decision has led to criticism from some quarters, highlighting the tension between political fundraising and diplomatic responsibilities.

Last week, Zelensky made a direct appeal to President Biden, arguing that his presence at the summit would lend significant legitimacy to the event. Zelensky stressed that Biden’s absence would be perceived as a weak move and could disappoint other world leaders who, according to him, “need President Biden.” Zelensky also suggested that those skipping the conference could be seen as aligning with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a pointed comment aimed at encouraging participation.

Despite Zelensky’s efforts, Monday’s announcement by the White House indicated a clear prioritization of domestic political engagements over international diplomatic ones. This has sparked a debate on the Biden administration’s approach to foreign policy and its commitment to supporting Ukraine amid its ongoing conflict with Russia.

Vice President Kamala Harris’s role in this context is significant. Her 2020 presidential bid ended prematurely, yet she became Biden’s running mate through an agreement with the Congressional Black Caucus, bolstering Biden’s appeal to a broader demographic. Throughout the current administration, Harris has been assigned various critical portfolios, including immigration, abortion, and voting rights. Despite these responsibilities, she has often been characterized as prone to gaffes, a reputation that parallels President Biden’s own occasional verbal missteps.

The decision to have Harris lead the US delegation to the peace summit can be seen as an effort to enhance her diplomatic credentials and assert the administration’s commitment to Ukraine. However, critics argue that the President’s physical absence might undermine the perceived importance of the summit.

The absence of key global players, such as Russia and China, and President Biden’s decision to skip the summit, reflect the complex geopolitical landscape surrounding the Ukraine conflict. The summit aims to solidify international support for Ukraine, yet the notable absences could impact its overall effectiveness.

Biden’s choice to attend a fundraiser over the summit has also raised questions about the administration’s priorities. While domestic political engagements are crucial, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine remains a critical issue on the global stage, requiring unwavering international support and leadership.

The decision to have Vice President Harris and National Security Advisor Sullivan represent the US at the Ukraine peace summit underscores the administration’s diplomatic efforts while highlighting the complex interplay of domestic and international priorities. As the situation in Ukraine continues to evolve, the actions and decisions of global leaders will remain under intense scrutiny, shaping the course of international relations and the quest for peace.


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