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  • Writer's pictureOlga Nesterova

US Vice President Kamala Harris to Attend Summit on Peace in Ukraine, Biden’s Absence Stirs Debate

US Vice President Kamala Harris is set to embark on a diplomatic journey to Lucerne, Switzerland, on June 15th, where she will participate in the Summit on Peace in Ukraine.

Vice President Harris | AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File
Vice President Harris | AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File

Her attendance underscores the Biden-Harris Administration's unwavering commitment to bolstering Ukraine's pursuit of a just and enduring peace, firmly anchored in principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the tenets of the UN Charter.

During the summit, "Vice President Harris will reinforce the United States' steadfast support for the people of Ukraine as they bravely confront ongoing Russian aggression", according to The White House. She will articulate the administration's dedication to standing by Ukraine in its defense efforts and in championing its sovereignty amidst external threats.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will accompany Vice President Harris, jointly representing the United States at this crucial diplomatic gathering. Their presence signifies the gravity with which the administration regards the situation in Ukraine and its commitment to multilateral efforts aimed at fostering stability and security in the region.

The summit comes amidst fervent appeals from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for global leaders to demonstrate leadership in advancing peace. Zelensky's plea, directed at President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, underscores the urgency and importance of international engagement in resolving the conflict.

However, President Biden's absence from the summit has sparked debate and garnered attention. Last week, Zelensky urged Biden to attend, alongside Xi Jinping, in a bid to galvanize international support for peace efforts. Reuters reported Zelensky's call, emphasizing the need for global leadership in addressing the crisis.

Julia Roberts and George Clooney | Michael Tran / AFP via Getty Images
Julia Roberts and George Clooney | Michael Tran / AFP via Getty Images

Despite Zelensky's appeal, President Biden is scheduled to be in Los Angeles on June 15th, headlining a high-profile fundraiser with former President Obama. The event, expected to draw notable figures including Hollywood actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts, highlights competing demands on the president's schedule.

In defense of Biden's decision not to attend the summit personally, National Security Communications official John Kirby emphasized the president's consistent and robust support for Ukraine. Kirby underscored Biden's unwavering advocacy for Ukraine, noting the president's instrumental role in securing military aid for the country, even amidst political stalemates.

"There hasn’t been a single leader around the world who has supported Ukraine more and more stridently than Joe Biden," Kirby affirmed, reaffirming the administration's commitment to Ukraine's security and well-being.

As Vice President Harris prepares to represent the United States at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, the absence of President Biden underscores the complexities and competing priorities facing the administration in navigating international crises and domestic imperatives. Yet, the administration's resolute commitment to Ukraine remains undiminished, signaling continued engagement and support on the global stage.

Linked sources: The White House, BBC, FDFA | June 3rd, 2024


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