Milei offers Ukraine ‘full support’ in peace summit speech

The Argentine president also defended free trade and liberalism at the event in Switzerland

Argentine President Javier Milei was in Switzerland on Saturday to participate in the Global Summit for Peace. He was welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and gave a three-minute speech in which he offered Ukraine “full support” in its war against Russia.

Milei made his way to the Swiss resort where the summit was being held following his appearance at the G7 summit in Italy on Friday, where he met with U.S. President Joe Biden, Pope Francis, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Kristalina Georgieva. The official delegation in Switzerland included Foreign Minister Diana Mondino, who had been snubbed from the Bari leg of the trip.

The Argentine president supported “the people of Ukraine” in the military conflict that started in February 2022 when Moscow invaded its neighboring country. He stressed that Argentina’s government defends “the ideas of freedom” and gave a definition of liberalism.

“Liberalism is respect for the neighbor’s life project, based on the non-aggression principle and in defense of the right to life, freedom, and private property,” he said. The president claimed that he is leading a “new Argentina” that is embracing the ideas that 150 years ago made the nation “one of the world’s most prosperous countries,” adding that, under his watch, Argentina had stopped turning its back on the world.

“There is no economic prosperity if there is no free trade — and there is no free trade if there is no peace,” he insisted. “Where there is trade, there are no bullets,” Milei said, quoting American libertarian economist Milton Friedman. 

Milei is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with Zelenskyy before leaving Switzerland. He will back in Argentina on Sunday. 

The summit in Switzerland

More than 90 world leaders took part in the summit, which was shunned by China and dismissed as a waste of time by Russia, which pushed its own rival ceasefire plans from afar. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy trumpeted the wide attendance as a success and predicted “history being made.”

“Today is the day when the world begins to bring just peace closer,” he told leaders assembled around a giant rectangular table.

U.S. President Joe Biden sent Vice President Kamala Harris to represent him. She announced more than $1.5 billion in energy and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, where infrastructure has been pounded by Russian air strikes since the 2022 full-scale invasion.

On the eve of the summit, Putin said Russia would end the war if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over four provinces claimed by Moscow. The conditions apparently reflected Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand. Ukraine and its allies outright rejected the proposal.

“He’s calling for surrender,” Harris said, adding: “Let nothing about the end of this war be decided without Ukraine.”

“Freezing the conflict today, with foreign troops occupying Ukrainian land, is not the answer. It is a recipe for future wars of aggression,” added European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Herald / Reuters


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