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LATIN AMERICA | 10-12-2023 16:11

Zelenskyy meets Latin American leaders to promote peace plan

Zelensky hails Argentina's 'new beginning' at Javier Milei's inauguration as he looks to build support in Latin America.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought support for his plan to end Russia’s war during meetings with three Latin America nations in a renewed attempt to win over the so-called Global South. 

The Ukrainian president invited Paraguay and Ecuador to participate in the fourth meeting of national security advisers in January to implement his peace formula, a 10-point plan centring on the full withdrawal of Kremlin troops now into the 22nd month of their invasion of Ukraine. 

In meetings with Uruguay’s Luis Lacalle Pou, Paraguay’s Santiago Peña and Ecuador’s Daniel Noboa, Zelenskyy said he wants as many Latin American countries as possible to join the initiative.

“Support and a powerful voice of Latin America on the side of Ukrainian people in our fight for freedom and democracy are very important to us,” Zelenskyy told Noboa.

The Ukrainian leader said he was grateful to Uruguay's Luis Lacalle Pou and his nation "for supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

He praised Uruguay's participation in the third foreign advisors meeting on the implementation of Ukraine's formula for peace, and invited Ecuador and Paraguay to join. 

Ukraine is fighting a hard battle on the ground against Russia in its eastern regions as it deals with a shortage of troops and uncertainty around military aid from the US and elsewhere going into 2024. 

Zelenskyy, who traveled from Kyiv to Buenos Aires for the inauguration of Javier Milei as Argentina’s president, is making diplomatic efforts to secure allies from around the globe, including Africa as well as South America. 

He discussed with the three leaders to possibility of a special Ukraine-Latin American summit, and discussed bilateral cooperation projects, in particular in trade. 

 

'New beginning for Argentina'

Received at the Casa Rosada by Milei, Zelenskyy congratulated the new president, hailing a new era for Argentina.

"This is a new beginning for Argentina, and I wish President Milei and the entire Argentinian people to surprise the world with their success," Zelenskyy said on social media. 

Footage showed Zelensky and Milei embracing and speaking at the inauguration and at a later reception at the Casa Rosada.

"I am also confident that bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and Argentina will continue to expand," Zelenskyy added. 

Zelensky had warmly welcomed Milei's victory end-November, thanking him for his "clear support for Ukraine."

Russian President Vladimir Putin had also congratulated Milei in November but the Kremlin "took note of a number of statements that Javier Milei made during the electoral campaign."

"We will focus on and judge him mainly by the statements that he makes after the inauguration," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. 

Both Moscow and Kyiv have courted Latin American countries, which have been divided over their response to the Ukraine war. 

 

– TIMES/BLOOMBERG/AFP

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