Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he will definitely meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and the Vatican City could become a venue.
The Ukrainian president said about this in an interview for the Italian newspaper la Repubblica.
Answering a journalist's question whether Rome or the Vatican City could become the venue, Zelensky said: "Yes, perhaps this could be the best venue from all points of view. The Vatican is really an ideal place for a dialogue about peace."
"The Holy See is a global moral authority that always effectively plays the role of a mediator, since it is impartial and inspires the confidence of all parties to the conflict. It is for this reason that the Apostolic Capital has often been addressed to resolve conflicts between states and develop a peaceful future. This is both authority, and a sincere desire to help, and guarantees of responsibility. The Pope by his vocation is a prophet of peace," he said.
Read alsoNegotiations with 'DPR/LPR' red line for Ukraine – FM KulebaAccording to Zelensky, this is where the Vatican differs from other world players: it remains an exclusively moral force and always acts disinterestedly with no military political or economic interests.
"A mediator with such authority may add confidence that lacks our attempts to negotiate. Of course, the venue should inspire confidence on both sides. Then it will be effective, and we will really be able to speak to the point," he said.
"The meeting will definitely take place. It is necessary to end the war in Donbas and go all the way to a fair and lasting peace," the president said.
However, according to Zelensky, the agenda for these talks remains open.
"But what should be the agenda in these negotiations? What steps will lead us to peace? Where and when will these steps be agreed on? These are open issues, and I think we will receive answers to them immediately after direct consultations between the Office of the President of Ukraine and the Administration of the President of Russia begin," he said.
Zelensky reiterated he had already instructed Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak to arrange consultations.
"It is clear no real direct communication between Ukraine and Russia has been held for a long time. Of course, this is not conducive to constructive negotiations. Therefore, it seems to me the meeting should first take place on a territory that embodies peace and dialogue," he said.
According to Zelensky, the right venue for conducting an extremely difficult dialogue about peace will contribute to resolving the issue.
- In a televised address on April 20, 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to hold talks in Donbas.
- On April 22, 2021, Putin responded to the invitation by suggesting that Zelensky could discuss the Donbas issue with the "leaders" of the two self-proclaimed republics, the "LPR/DPR," adding that Moscow remained open for contact on any other issues.
- On April 26, Zelensky instructed Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak to arrange a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "It seems to me everything leads to the fact this meeting will take place," he said.