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China and Belarus express ‘extreme interest’ in Ukraine peace

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The leaders of China and Belarus have expressed their “extreme interest” in a peaceful resolution in Ukraine.

Chinese President and Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, issued the statement after talks in Beijing.

Mr Lukashenko said his country “fully supports” a Beijing plan for ending the war in Ukraine.

China announced a plan for peace talks last week, calling for the respect of national sovereignty.

The visit comes days after China sent its top diplomat Wang Yi to meet Mr Putin.

Mr Lukashenko and Mr Xi’s meeting also coincided with a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Central Asian nations to discuss the Ukraine war.

On Wednesday, China and Belarus “expressed deep concern” about the conflict and “extreme interest in the soonest possible establishment of peace in Ukraine”, the Belarus state-run news agency Belta reported.

Mr Lukashenko has aided the Russian leader in his war in Ukraine, and observers have seen his trip to Beijing as another sign of China closing ranks with Russia and its allies.

The Belarus leader praised China’s peace plan.

The 12-point document urges respect for “the sovereignty of all countries”. It does not specifically say Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine and condemns the usage of “unilateral sanctions”, an implicit criticism of Ukraine’s Western allies.

Mr Lukashenko said he “fully supports the initiative on international security you have put forward”, according to remarks released by his aides.

Political decisions “should be aimed at first and foremost preventing a slide into a global confrontation that will see no winners”, he told Mr Xi.

China’s peace plan was met with general distrust in the West.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he agreed with some parts of it and said it was a sign of China’s willingness to engage. Beijing has so far not publicly responded to Mr Zelensky’s call for a summit.

Source: bbc

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