Posted on  UTC 2024-06-15 02:01 Updated on UTC 2024-06-16

The Swiss government's two-day Ukraine 'Peace Conference' starts today. What's that… your invitation hasn't arrived? Never mind, you probably need to do a bit of work on your boondoggle status.

The conference is being held next to the Bürgenstock, a column of rock that rises about 500 metres above the Vierwaldstättersee, Lake Lucerne, in central Switzerland, the mountain to which it is attached topped off with luxury hotels and wellness centres.

Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne

The Bürgenstock Resort, in the heart of Switzerland. Image: ©Bürgenstock Resort [click to open a larger image in a new browser tab.]

The participants will be a gaggle of the usual freeloaders: dignitaries from around the world, their underlings and their NGO camp followers. US Vice-President Kamala Harris will be there to give us her deep thoughts, helped out by the others in the G7 gang: Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz, Giorgia Meloni, Uschi von der Leyen, Fumio Kishida. All in all 160 delegations from 90 countries.

Joe Biden, after an entertainingly confused few days at the G7 meeting in Italy, choose not to make the short hop from there to the peace conference in Switzerland but rather went off to Los Angeles to do some fundraising, which says a lot about what Biden and his handlers think of the Swiss event.

It's a nice time of the year to have a weekend in a Swiss luxury hotel complex, a bit of pampering after a long flight, a gentle paddle around an infinity pool, say. Zelensky is there, but not Putin, who appears to have no interest in this circus. Which is a bit of a blessing, since because Zelensky refused to turn up if Putin came, the most important person in the war was not invited. There will certainly be no angry arguments to disturb the peace at this peace conference.

Since the conference will achieve nothing, apart, of course, from setting a date for the next boondoggle, we cynics suspect that this monumental PR stunt could easily be seen to be just an attempt by the Swiss government to rescue something from the reputational wreckage of its continuing neutrality debacle over the Ukraine conflict.

We recognise cynicism when we see it: this is Switzerland, which wanted to send arms to the Ukrainians despite its famed neutrality, offering its 'good offices' (as required by its constitution) to bring peace to a troubled world. That those 'good offices' these days require treating one of the two combatants as a pariah is just one more oddity in this 'peace conference'.

We cynics might also conclude that the location for the conference at the mythological centre of Switzerland, Tell country, is not an accident. It will arguably do more for Switzerland than it will for the Ukraine.

Update 16.06.2024

In case you cannot stand the tension any longer, here's the whimper that ended the Peace Conference at about 16:30 today.

Introducing the closing declaration, the Federal President, Viola Amherd, stated that 'We are not be able to announce peace in the Ukraine' – a statement that will surprise no one, given that one of the two combatants was not present.

The 'Joint Communiqué' is here.

The declaration was supposed to be signed by all present; in fact only 84 out of the 100 delegations signed the document [according to the SRF], whether because they found it in some way unacceptable or because they had just buzzed off home early, who knows? The declaration closed with a statement of the obvious: 'We believe that reaching peace requires the involvement of and dialogue between all parties.' So perhaps at the next one they may even invite Russia.

As suggested in the main article, summa summarum, a waste of time and Swiss taxpayers' money. The only beneficiary is Zelenski, who got a brown paper envelope from Kamala with a wad of dosh in it, $1.5 billion to be exact. Some of it may the money that the Ukraine paid to the Biden family via Hunter in recent years, but this is doubtful. After handing over the dosh, Kamala said a few words then flew back to the USA, the conference being as unimportant for her as it was for her boss.

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