Cambodia turns down Ukraine peace summit invite due to lack of Russian participation

Senate President Hun Sen (left) meeting online with Ruslan Stefanchuk, President of Ukraine’s Parliament on May 28. - Photo: Senate of Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times/ANN): Despite Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s overture for all Asean nations to participate in an upcoming peace summit on his country’s proposal to end the war, Senate President Hun Sen has reiterated Cambodia’s position that it will not attend if all parties to the conflict, especially Russia, are not present.

He said that Cambodia will not attend the upcoming Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland because it cannot succeed without Russia being present as an invited participant to the meetings.

His remarks come after a foreign media published a report on South-East Asian countries attending the upcoming suimmit. That media report placed the blame on China for Cambodia’s declining to participate.

“Cambodia’s decision not to attend the peace summit is Cambodia’s right, as Cambodia can see it will be unsuccessful. Whether other countries join or not is their right to decide,” Hun Sen posted on his Facebook page on Friday.

“Please do not try to blame China when Cambodia does not participate in the peace summit and please stop linking Cambodia to geopolitical games against China,” he wrote.

Hun Sen noted that late last month in a video meeting with Ruslan Stefanchuk, the Speaker of Ukraine’s Parliament, he informed him that Cambodia was considering Ukraine’s peace plan and whether or not to join and he also informed him that the peace summit would not be successful unless all relevant parties – especially Russia – were invited to join.

“I told him that before, during and after the summit, Russia would launch strong military attacks on the battlefield. I also said this to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director on June 2 and the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, on June 4, when they came to see me. Does China advise me to speak like this or does Cambodia have the right to speak?” he said.

Hun Sen said that Cambodia is an independent state and that he has worked with Chinese leaders for many years and has never heard any Chinese leader telling him to do this or do that to fulfill China’s wishes.

On the contrary, those who accuse Cambodia of following China always come and put pressure on Cambodia to follow them instead, thus often leading to a clash of words with him, he added.

Stefanchuk, during a video conference with Mr Hun Sen on May 29, invited Prime Minister Hun Manet to attend a summit on peace in Ukraine to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in mid-June.

Anatoly Borovik, Russia’s ambassador to Cambodia, said yesterday that his embassy had no comment on these remarks or on Cambodian policies.

As for the upcoming conference in Burgenstock, Ambassador Borovik said that the purpose of it is to focus on the “far-fetched, unrealistic Zelensky peace formula”.

He said that Ukraine and its mentors are luring the Global South to come to Switzerland with the aim of drawing a crowd and posing for a “family photo” in order to present a so-called “collective ultimatum”.

“Meanwhile, other countries’ constructive initiatives on settlement are ignored and discarded. Switzerland has lost its neutral status and clearly sided with the Kiev regime. The Swiss side is saying that the event will focus not on ‘building bridges’ for peace, but on supporting Ukraine,” he said.

“Clearly, these games have nothing to do with bridging gaps and addressing the Ukrainian crisis,” Borovik added.

Nataliya Zhynkina, the Deputy Head of Mission and Political Counsellor of the Embassy of Ukraine in Vietnam, said yesterday that she would “forward this to Oleksandr Gaman, Ambassador of Ukraine to Vietnam, for comments”.

However, she told the Khmer Times on March 13 that “We call on ASEAN countries to join the implementation of the points of the Peace Formula and thereby strengthen the ability of the world community to defend the principles of the United Nations, to take a unified position for this, and to mobilise to counter the violation of international law not only with words, but also with concrete actions”.

“To that end, the world expects ASEAN to work in solidarity to overcome the challenges with the aim of building a crisis-resistant world order,” she added.

Kin Phea, Director-General of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, said yesterday that it is up to each state in the world to decide whether or not to attend. As for Cambodia’s decision, it logically wants to see the participation of all parties to the conflict.

If all parties come together to resolve the dispute then all parties to the conflict should be summoned to discuss a solution, but without inviting a major party to the dispute it will prove ineffective at finding solutions, he said.

“It is a neutral position of Cambodia, who wants to see a peace resolution process with all parties,” Phea added.

Ukraine has called on all Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to join in implementing its “peace formula” and to unite in overcoming challenges to establishing a crisis-resistant global order, hoping for an increased participation from ASEAN countries in the activities led by Ukraine’s partners to repel and denounce Russian aggression.

In November 2022, Zelensky put forward a comprehensive 10-point peace plan. Among its key provisions were the withdrawal of all Russian troops, the restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 post-Soviet borders and the initiation of a process to hold Russia accountable for its actions.

However, Russia has stated that the peace plan drafted by Ukraine contained “unacceptable” elements. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed that the proposal diverged from the terms that negotiators had previously agreed upon. - Khmer Times

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Cambodia , Hun Sen , Turn , Down , Ukraine , Invitation , Peace Summit


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