Scholz calls Swiss-hosted Ukraine talks an early step to forge peace

International |  IANS  | Published :

Bari, Italy, June 15 (IANS/DPA) German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is keeping expectations low for the international peace conference in Switzerland aimed at helping chart a path toward the end of the war in Ukraine.

"This is a diplomatic seedling that we are watering so that it can grow," he said in an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF on Saturday morning.

The conference opens later on Saturday. It will focus on peace in Ukraine and will be attended by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Russia has not been invited.

The German chancellor spoke ahead of his departure from the three-day G7 summit near the southern Italian city of Bari. He will then join dozens of other world leaders at the Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace conference near Lucerne.

Scholz said he hoped the conference would "lay the foundation" for further negotiations that Russia would take part in.

He also called on Russia's allies, including China, to "exert their influence" on Moscow. However, China is also not taking part in the gathering.

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