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Why Pakistan Opts Out of the 'Ukraine Peace Summit'?

© AP Photo / Markus SchreiberVolodymyr Zelensky delivers his speech at the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.
Volodymyr Zelensky delivers his speech at the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.06.2024
Islamabad is likely to skip the Ukraine Peace Summit to be held in Switzerland on June 15 and 16. The absence of Pakistan, a key player in South Asia, has not gone unnoticed.
Just days before Switzerland hosts a global summit initiated by Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, Pakistan has decided to not take part in the summit. Russia, China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia are among a few of many countries who will not be attending the summit.
Pakistan's decision to opt out of the summit sends a multifaceted signal to the West.

“This decision emphasizes Islamabad's insistence on strategic autonomy and the need for its national interests to be respected. By not aligning unequivocally with Western positions on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Pakistan demonstrates its desire to maintain an independent foreign policy that is not influenced by external pressures," former Unit Head of Engro Corporation and political analyst, Dr. Shahid Rashid, political analyst, told Sputnik India.

Pakistan's geopolitical priorities are shaped by its unique security concerns, economic dependencies, and regional relationships.
Hence, by abstaining from the summit, Islamabad invites Western nations to consider these factors and to engage in dialogue that respects the diverse interests and perspectives of all global players.

“If Russia and China are not attending, then it is a clear signal to other nations that the summit cannot be effective in achieving any real peace settlement in Ukraine,” Rashid added.

On May 31, China made clear that it would not participate in the Swiss summit. At the time, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, had said that China has always insisted that an international peace conference should be endorsed by both Russia and Ukraine, with the equal participation of all parties, and that all peace proposals should be discussed in a fair and equal manner. “Otherwise, it will be difficult for it to play a substantive role in restoring peace," Ning had said.

Economic Considerations and Regional Stability

Pakistan's former defense attache in the foreign service, Khalid Shikari, told Sputnik India that historically Pakistan has sought to avoid entanglement in disputes involving major global powers, especially when such conflicts do not directly impact its national interests. This decision is also viewed within the context of Pakistan's relationship with Russia.

"Over the past decade, Islamabad has worked to strengthen ties with Moscow, seeking to diversify its foreign relations and reduce dependency on traditional allies like the United States. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan sought to have warmer relations with Moscow and the current prime minister Shehbaz Sharif has continued this trend,” Shikari stated.

According to the former diplomat, Pakistan's non-participation in the summit could be interpreted as an “effort to avoid alienating Russia”, which remains a significant player in regional security dynamics and an important partner in energy and defense cooperation for Pakistan.

"Pakistan has an opportunity to benefit from Moscow’s pivot towards Asia as it has moved away from the West. As Islamabad's focus remains on addressing domestic challenges, such as economic reforms, and countering terrorism, it decided best to avoid the summit,” he added.

Similar opinion was shared by Dr. Rashid who said that Islamabad's priority remains ensuring stability inside the country and in South Asia, and participating in resolving a distant conflict in Europe could divert attention and resources from pressing regional issues.
"Pakistan's absence from the summit is a calculated decision reflecting its broader geopolitical strategy. By maintaining a neutral stance, Islamabad aims to balance its international relationships, safeguard economic interests, and focus on regional stability," Dr. Rashid concluded.
The Swiss government authorities are planning to hold a conference on Ukraine in the resort of Burgenstock on June 15-16. More than 160 delegations, including those from the G7, G20 and BRICS countries were invited, but so far 90 are set to attend.
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