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VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Talks on Ukraine's plan for peace kicked off in Malta on Saturday, with the participation of more than 65 countries — but not Russia, Maltese and Ukrainian officials said.
The two-day meeting of national security delegates is the third round of such talks in recent months. Ukraine sees them as an opportunity to win support for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan from countries across the globe, especially as the conflict in the Middle East risks shifting the focus away from Ukraine.
Russia, which wasn't invited to any of the meetings, has dismissed the initiative as biased.
“Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts are paying off, as international support for the Ukrainian peace formula is growing,” the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, wrote on X — formerly known as Twitter — ahead of the opening session.
The initial round of talks in Copenhagen in June saw just 15 participants, rising to 43 for the second round in Jeddah in August.
In his speech at the conference, Yermak noted that, as more and more states are joining the development of Zelenskyy’s plan, “Russia will have to give in to the international community. It will have to accept our common conditions.”
He then specified that five of the 10 points of the plan would be discussed at the weekend talks: nuclear safety, energy security, food security, the release of prisoners of war and deportees, and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
In his opening remarks, Malta’s foreign minister, Ian Borg, said the high attendance was a “vote of confidence in Malta as a peace broker,” reiterating the country’s support for Ukraine.
“Although we are a neutral state, we cannot remain silent in the face of injustice, atrocities and abuse of power in this region,” Borg said. “Malta believes in multilateralism under the auspices of international law and the U.N. Charter.”