Marcos: Ukraine peace talks must be bilateral

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WHILE the Philippines supports the end of armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the peace talks between the two countries should be done bilaterally, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said.

Marcos made the remark when asked if he was willing to co-sponsor before the United Nations the proposed peace plan by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Among the pro plan is the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the imposition of sanctions against Russia’s aggression.

“That’s not for us to decide. Those details are—should there be talks—between Ukraine and Russia,” Marcos told reporters in PR001 en route to Davos, Switzerland to attend the 2023 World Economic Forum.

“What will they do with the territories that have changed stance, et cetera. That is really clear between the two countries,” he added.

The President, however, urged Ukraine and Russia to declare a ceasefire to end the ongoing bloodshed between their troops.

Conflict between the two countries erupted last Feb. after Russia launched “special military operations” in Ukraine, which drew international condemnation.

Zelenskyy sought support from members of the international community, including the Philippines, to help its cause against Russia.

Last week, Denys Mykhailiuk, charge d’affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine in Malaysia, disclosed they had requested last year for a phone call between Zelenskyy and Marcos to discuss bilateral cooperation.

However, he noted the request is still pending until now.

Marcos confirmed there was such a request, but he pointed out they have yet to finalize the details of the said phone call.

That’s why we were surprised when the special envoy came out and said we have yet to reply. We already replied but we didn’t get it—we couldn’t get it scheduled,” Marcos said.

The President assured he is open to having such bilateral talks with Zelenskyy to show support to his cause for peace.

“I have no problem with talking to President Zelenskyy, especially now that the war in their [territory] has intensified. So of course we are —again on the side of peace and that remains the same,” Marcos said. 

Image credits: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP