US VP Harris to attend Ukraine summit in Switzerland: White House

AFP , Monday 3 Jun 2024

US Vice President Kamala Harris will attend a Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland, the White House said Monday, after President Joe Biden was reportedly set to skip it for an election fundraiser hosted by George Clooney.

Kamala Harris
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a campaign rally with US President Joe Biden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. AFP


Harris, who will be joined by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for the June 15 meeting in Lucerne, will "underscore the Biden-Harris administration's commitment to supporting Ukraine's effort to secure a just and lasting peace."

"The vice president will reaffirm support for the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against ongoing Russian aggression," Harris spokesperson Kirsten Allen said in a statement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had been pushing for Biden to attend the summit, saying that if the US leader did not turn up it would be like "personally applauding" Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kyiv hopes to win broad international backing at the meeting for its vision of the terms needed to end Russia's war.

But the Swiss summit clashes with a fundraiser in California hosted by Hollywood stars Clooney and Julia Roberts, along with former president Barack Obama, for Biden's reelection bid against Donald Trump.

Biden's apparent no-show in Switzerland comes despite the fact that he will be a short plane-hop away in neighboring Italy for a G7 meeting the day before the Lucerne meeting.

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