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Latin American countries refuse to see Zelenskyy at summit with EU

Thursday, 6 July 2023, 21:03

Latin American countries opposed the participation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in their summit with the European Union in Brussels in mid-July and removed everything related to Ukraine from the draft declaration of this summit.


Details: The heads of state and government of the 33 countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are expected to arrive in Brussels on 17-18 July for a summit with their EU counterparts. However, on 4 July, these countries sent a 21-page counter-proposal to the draft text that EU member states sent to them last month.


The countries of Central and Latin America "threw cold water" on the EU's efforts to unite the continent to support Ukraine and call for colonial reparations in a counter-proposal to the draft declaration of the upcoming EU summit, EURACTIV reports, which has seen the documents.

As noted, an additional irritant on the eve of the summit was the controversy surrounding the participation of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, who received an invitation from Spain but refused it after Latin American leaders opposed it.

The initial EU-proposed summit declaration text included several paragraphs on support for Ukraine, referencing the UN General Assembly’s resolutions, three people familiar with the document said.

"The text on Ukraine was very balanced," one EU diplomat told EURACTIV. 

"There is nothing special about anything we sent them," a second EU diplomat added.

However, Latin American countries "deleted everything about Ukraine", a third EU diplomat complained after seeing the counter-proposal.

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, Europeans have firmly stated that post-war peace must be built according to Kyiv's critetia, which are not mentioned in the CELAC proposal.

According to the modified declaration text, the EU and CELAC members would together "advocate for serious and constructive diplomatic solutions to the current conflict in Europe, by peaceful means, which guarantees the sovereignty and security of us all, as well as regional and international peace, stability and security".

"It is crucial that the joint declaration should refer to a shared commitment to all principles enshrined in the Charter of the UN, including respect to territorial integrity and sovereignty, and the need to condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine," a fourth EU diplomat told EURACTIV.

EU high officials seek "unanimity" with regional partners on several key political issues. However, most Latin American countries do not want to be drawn into the war, which they consider a "European problem".

Brazil’s President Lula da Silva has attempted to spearhead their own peace plan for Ukraine, and senior Brazilian officials joined counterparts from Ukraine, the G7, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Türkiye last month to discuss efforts to bring different perspectives together.

The counter-proposal that the CELAC countries sent to Brussels shows that they are "not on the same wavelength" and want "to be perceived as equal partners," diplomats say.

In a surprise move, CELAC members asked Europeans to pay reparations for the damage caused by slavery, which is likely to become a potentially contentious issue.

EU ambassadors are expected to discuss the counter-proposal at their meeting on 7 July. EU diplomats will work to have a joint declaration, but do not rule out the possibility that the summit may end without it.

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