Ivorian President shows unwavering support for Ukraine by attending Swiss Peace Summit

As part of the drive to achieve a ceasefire in Ukraine, a summit was organized in Switzerland at the Bürgenstock on June 15 and 16, 2024. Some countries declined the invitation due to the absence of one of the two protagonists. On the African side, following the opening of the Ukrainian Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenskyy invited his Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara to take part in the forum by telephone call.

After the President of Ukraine contacted his Ivorian counterpart by phone on May 14th of this year, President Alassane Ouattara reportedly made it known that he would not be attending the forum.

Following this, a rumor circulated that the Ukrainian Embassy, which had just opened its doors in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, was recruiting fighters to go and fight against Russia. “Young people aged between 18 and 30 at the most, wishing to serve the Ukrainian armed forces on the front, as part of the defense of our nation against the Russian aggression launched on February 24, 2022”, says the press release, are informed “that recruitment within the Ukrainian Embassy will begin on May 30”. A publication that caused controversy in Africa, drawing the ire of several Internet users.

Despite this announcement, Alassane Dramane OUATTARA agreed to take part in the forum, thus confirming his commitment to France, one of the main initiators of the event and the undisputed driving force behind Côte d’Ivoire’s power.

Africa was represented by a small number of countries at the peace summit. Only four countries were represented at Head of State level: Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Kenya. Six others countries sent ministers: Benin, Comoros, Gambia, Liberia, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.

“Africa will not be a Western battlefield. This conflict does not concern us; several opportunities for negotiation have arisen before and during this conflict. Ukraine needs to rethink its strategy. Instead of looking for support, it should sit down with Russia to discuss the concrete terms of peace,” said professor Richard Landry.

On the menu for this summit is “resolving the Ukrainian crisis”, an initiative dedicated to the unilateral will of the Ukrainian authorities and the West, in the knowledge that without Russia’s participation, no peace outcome is possible.

Other players have also refused to take part in the forum, such as China and Brazil, who have declared that they will not attend, while making it clear that the presence of both warring parties is a prerequisite for any peace conference worthy of the name.

A considerable drop in the number of participants was observed a week before the forum, from 98 to 78, the result of several factors. Some African countries, for example, felt that their participation would have no impact on the decisions to be taken.

The peace summit organized in Switzerland is in fact a meeting between countries allied with Ukraine and NATO countries to discuss methods of future support for the Kiev authorities. Ukraine should be seeking a peace solution with its Russian neighbor, instead of going around the world with no concrete outcome.

By Diallo Mara