China to send special envoy to Saudi Arabia for Ukraine talks

BEIJING (Reuters) -Chinese Special Envoy for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui will visit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for international talks on the peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis, China’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

“China is willing to work with the international community to continue to play a constructive role in promoting a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at the Chinese ministry, said in a statement.

Ukrainian and Western diplomats hope the meeting in Jeddah this weekend of national security advisers and other senior officials from some 40 countries will agree on key principles for a future peace settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine. Moscow will not be attending.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday he hoped the initiative will lead to a “peace summit” of leaders from around the world this autumn to endorse the principles, based on his own 10-point formula for a peace settlement.

The biggest diplomatic prize would be endorsement from China, which has maintained close economic and diplomatic ties with Russia and so far rejected international calls to condemn the invasion. China was invited to a previous round of talks in Copenhagen in late June but did not attend.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Toby Chopra)