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India to participate in Ukraine peace talks hosted by Saudi Arabia

India to participate in Ukraine peace talks hosted by Saudi Arabia
Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi speaks during a joint news conference with Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny (unseen) following their meeting in Dublin, Ireland, 23 September 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on an official short visit to Ireland which media reports say is the first visit of an Indian head of government to the country since 1956. EPA/AIDAN CRAWLEY

Saudi Arabia has invited Western nations, Ukraine and some major developing countries to discuss the peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier this year.

Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry, said New Delhi has been invited to attend a meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia in Jeddah.

“India will participate in this event. Our participation is in consonance with our long-standing position that dialogue and diplomacy is the way forward,” he said.

Russia, which has not been invited, said on Monday that it will follow the discussions. Ukraine has said that the Kremlin was not welcome at the talks.

Zelenskiy’s plan calls for the withdrawal of all Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s post-Soviet borders.

The Ukrainian leader had invited India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join his peace plan on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Japan in May.

New Delhi has refused to condemn Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine last year, frustrating several western nations. At the same time, India has increased its trade with Russia driven by record-high oil purchases.

However, last year Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin that this is “not an era of war”.

As the chair of the G20 block this year, India will host the summit meeting in September, to which U.S. President Joe Biden, China’s Xi Jinping, Putin and other leaders have been invited.

(Reporting by Krishn Kaushik; editing by Jason Neely, Bernadette Baum and Sharon Singleton)

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