Switzerland’s Ukraine Peace Summit Was a Call for Continued War

Last week, representatives of 93 countries and eight international organizations attended the self-styled Summit on Peace in Ukraine in Switzerland at the Bürgenstock, a luxury Swiss resort on Lake Lucerne. Uninvited, however, was the one guest with whom the terms of any peace agreement must be negotiated: the Russian Federation.

This is the equivalent of organizing an international conference on peace in the Middle East to which Israel was not invited or hosting a summit on the future of the South China Sea from which the People’s Republic is excluded. The snub, moreover, is at odds with the Swiss hosts’ pronouncement that the aim of the meeting was “to develop a common understanding of a path towards a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.”

The Swiss “peace conference” was staged and managed to support the letter and the spirit of Ukrainian demands, which were maximalist in their nature. They could sound realistic only if Russia was utterly defeated and lying prostrate before NATO’s victorious powers, with Putin dragged before an ad hoc tribunal at The Hague, and the country’s oil and gas revenues permanently diverted to Western banks and Ukrainian oligarchs. This is no more likely than the Taiwanese Kuomintang returning to power in Beijing, or the Israelis accepting the creation of a multicultural-confessional “Palestine” as the replacement for the Jewish state.

The argument emanating from Bern was that Switzerland’s neutral status and its experience as a mediator in conflicts suggested the European state offered the best position to offer its “good offices.” This was the claim endlessly repeated by Ignazio Cassis, the Swiss minister of foreign affairs. He lobbied hard to bring as many countries as possible to the summit, traveling to New Delhi and Beijing among other places. The Chinese refused, however, and they were followed by most of the BRICS members. India sent a career diplomat; Brazil and South Africa sent low-level observers. Thus, the conference was set to be a debacle from the outset.

In the opinion of the leading Italian geopolitical journal, Limes, the exclusion of Russia “cloaked the event in evanescence even before it began.” The outcome of the conference was accordingly “very disappointing”:

There was no mention of the most thorny issues in the final communiqué, such as Kiev’s entry into NATO or territorial issues … and as many as twelve participating countries decided not to sign the document. These include nations with considerable geopolitical weight, such as India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Mexico and Indonesia.

Those countries belonging to the “Global South” that did come to Bürgenstock refused to sign the “Joint Communiqué on a Peace Framework.” This is unsurprising; it is a surreal document.

“This Summit was built on the previous discussions,” the Bürgenstock communiqué declared, “that have taken place based on Ukraine’s Peace Formula and other peace proposals…” The communiqué specifically demanded the Ukrainian nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia be returned to the “full sovereign control of Ukraine”; it insisted that “Ukrainian agricultural products should be securely and freely provided to interested third countries”; and it stated that “all prisoners of war must be released by complete exchange.”

For the uninitiated, “Ukraine’s Peace Formula,” openly invoked as the basis of the Swiss summit’s final communiqué—aka Zelensky’s “10-point Peace Plan”—had been presented to the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) on Oct. 11, 2022. The first of those 10 points demanded the immediate return of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Ukraine’s control. The second article stated that Ukrainian agricultural exports must be restored for the sake of millions around the world. The fourth article demanded the release of all prisoners and deportees on a basis of complete exchange, “all for all.”

Up to that point, the Swiss Joint Communiqué was but a carbon copy of the 2022 Zelensky Plan. Interestingly, however, the Communiqué’s drafters decided not to include the rest of the plan in their own text.

The rest of the Zelensky Plan insisted that “Ukraine’s territorial integrity is not up for negotiations.” “Russia must withdraw all its troops and armed formations from the territory of Ukraine, plain and simple,”—the Crimea and the Donbas naturally included. It stated that “no crime should be left unpunished” and that a special tribunal must be established to try those guilty of Russia’s aggression. Furthermore, “an international mechanism” must be created “to make Russia compensate for all the damages caused by this war.”

“There are no alternatives to this peace plan,” the Zelensky plan stated. “All the initiatives of other states for a peaceful settlement can only be based on the Ukrainian peace formula.” Unsurprisingly, it added that in this endeavor “the participation of all the nations and international organizations, except the aggressor state, is extremely welcomed.”

The Swiss Joint Communiqué is but the wish list of the Biden administration and its most hawkish European cohorts. Designed partly as a propagandistic spectacle, partly as a war council of the collective West, the Bürgenstock summit failed on both counts. Due to Russia’s exclusion, the conference was attended by fewer than one-half of the members of the United Nations. Due to the wording of the communiqué, only 79 countries agreed to sign it.

The credibility of the event was uncertain from the outset since Switzerland initially agreed to host the conference at the behest of none other than Volodymyr Zelensky. The government in Berne initially had intended to invite Russia, but bowed to pressure from the United States, the European Union, and Ukraine itself to refrain. The Swiss tried to justify this remarkable decision by claiming Moscow had indicated no interest in taking part. In fact, the Swiss were simply following the U.S.-Ukrainian plan dictum that it welcomed “the participation of all the nations and international organizations, except the aggressor state.”

A leading Swiss politician dismissed the summit as a farce even before it started, reflecting the view that it was detrimental to Switzerland’s traditional neutrality. Nils Fiechter, chief of the youth wing of the sovereigntist Swiss Peoples’ Party (SVP) —the biggest group in the country’s Lower House—told RT that the conference would achieve nothing. “The whole thing is an absolute farce and an embarrassment for our country,” Fiechter said, accusing the Swiss government of “blindly” bowing to foreign pressure by not inviting Russia.

Switzerland has allowed Ukraine to dictate who may or may not be invited to the conference, the SVP official added, allowing it to turn the event “into a Zelensky show.” In Fiechter’s view, “now we are in danger, and it’s a great danger, of Switzerland allowing itself to be drawn into a world war.”

This same point was made by Christoph Blocher in the right-leaning Weltwoche. “There is a great danger that Switzerland will be drawn into a world war,” he wrote:

The peace conference became a war conference … Switzerland is already violating its neutrality with mindless participation in the sanctions against Russia, it is continuing with a one-sided peace conference and losing the credibility of its permanent, armed and comprehensive neutrality.

In June 1919 the victorious Allies dictated terms to a defeated Germany at Versailles, with disastrous consequences which became obvious just two decades later. In 2024, the pretense of the collective West that it can dictate even more draconian terms to Russia—a power both immune to Western sanctions and poised to win the war of attrition—beggars belief.

It is to be hoped that the Swiss—pragmatic as they are, and overwhelmingly devoted to the tradition of neutrality—will not allow someone as insignificant as Ignazio Cassis (and his unelected globalist cohorts in the federal government apparatus) to drag them down the path of self-abasement. That would be unworthy of an honorable tradition, spanning from the 1291 Oath on the Rütli Meadow to the former president’s invocation of the imagery of David und Goliath in der Staatspolitik.  

With much of Europe rebelling against the Davos Politburo’s straitjacket, the Swiss can and should prevent their own traitor class from undermining their time-honored identity and their security.

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