The illusions of the Bürgenstock: “Switzerland agreed to be manipulated by Ukraine”

11:38 19.06.2024 •

There is no connection between the “peace conference” in Bürgenstock and peace in Ukraine, Swiss diplomat Georges Martin (photo) said in an interview with Blick. Former Ambassador Georges Martin, now retired, was Deputy State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. So, what does this veteran of negotiations of all kinds, think of the Bürgenstock conference on Ukraine which took place?

- Georges Martin, you know very well that peace requires taking a step in its direction, whatever the cost. Isn't that what Switzerland is doing at Bürgenstock?

- Unfortunately no! First, because, contrary to the name officially given to it, there was never any question of a “peace conference”. This is a “conference on the Ukrainian peace proposal”. But even that is not true! In fact, Switzerland unwisely agreed to be maneuvered by Ukraine into the uncomfortable position of organizing a conference which never aimed, in Zelensky's mind, to seek paths to peace but to bring together support for Ukraine that goes beyond the Western circle. Zelensky probably thought that Switzerland's reputation could help convince actors in the so-called "Global South" to get what its Western NATO allies could never get.

- By saying this, you are pointing out the absence of Russia?

- Clearly yes! First, it is incomprehensible not to invite Russia, even if Moscow would probably decline the invitation. There was nevertheless a way to save a little the operation: convince the BRICS, the giants of the emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, but also Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Iran) to participate. Switzerland did not stop working on it, including during the hours which preceded the start of the Bürgenstock conference. There was a mixed success since their delegations present and led by their Ministers of Foreign Affairs, while there were 60 heads of state or government. In fact, the BRICS countries show that they understand the objective of the operation and refuse to support it.

- So a path to peace in Ukraine cannot be traced above Lucerne?

- In my opinion, there is no “peace process” at Bürgenstock! I find more promising ideas of a peace process put on the table by China and Brazil, which immediately integrate Russia. I fear that the Bürgenstock is clearly part of a war process. Brasilia and Beijing have understood this well.

I think that Switzerland, with its neutrality, must realize that this neutrality has been damaged by the latest developments, the lack of clarity of our foreign policy and bad decisions, notably that of organizing the Bürgenstock conference!


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