FRANKFURT: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday welcomed a recent Saudi-led summit on a peace settlement to end the fighting in Ukraine, and called for further diplomatic efforts.

Representatives from more than 40 countries including China, Germany, India and the US took part in last weekend’s gathering in Jeddah.

“It makes sense for us to continue these talks, because they increase the pressure on Russia to realize that it has taken the wrong path and that it must withdraw its troops and make peace possible,” Scholz said in his annual summer interview with German broadcaster ZDF.

Similar international talks to discuss a path toward peace also took place in Copenhagen in June.

Scholz called the talks in Denmark and Saudi Arabia, held at the level of foreign policy advisers, “very special.”
He continued: “They are very important and they are really only the beginning.”

Ukraine on Monday said it had been “satisfied” with the Saudi summit during which Kyiv sought to drum up support for its 10-point peace plan, including the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.

Moscow meanwhile said a peace settlement was only possible if Kyiv put down its arms.

More than a year after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine launched a highly anticipated counteroffensive in June after stockpiling Western weapons. But it has struggled to make headway in the face of stiff Russian resistance.

Kyiv has repeatedly asked Berlin for long-range Taurus cruise missiles to boost its efforts, but Germany has so far resisted amid concerns the weapons could reach Russian territory and widen the conflict.

Scholz reiterated in the interview that Germany was now the second-biggest supplier of military assistance to Ukraine after the United States.

But on the issue of sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, the chancellor remained vague.

“As in the past, we will always review every single decision very carefully, what is possible, what makes sense, what can be our contribution,” Scholz said.