By Christopher Scicluna
VALLETTA (Reuters) -Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged a gathering of over 60 national security advisers on Saturday to make a global model out of his 10-point formula for peace with Russia.
The meeting, which was held behind closed doors in neutral Malta, will help gauge Ukraine and the West's ability to drum up continued and broader support as the conflict in Israel dominates headlines, moving the focus from Kyiv.
Without Russia, which criticized Malta for hosting the talks after smaller ones this year in Jeddah and in Copenhagen, Zelenskiy said he longed for a day when human history "is the history of peace only." International law and the United Nations Charter spelled out this aspiration, he said.
"But does the U.N. Charter work?" he asked in his address, shared on YouTube in English.
"Here, in Ukraine and in the Middle East and in African countries, the answer to this question is the cries of mothers burying their sons and daughters killed in wars, and the despair of children orphaned by wars.
"We can and must give a different answer. The world has seen too much blood."
His 10-point peace plan includes calls for the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity, withdrawal of Russian troops, protection of food and energy supplies, nuclear safety and the release of all prisoners.
Officials said they hoped for the outcome of the weekend's gathering, partly in person, partly virtual, to be agreement to hold a global peace summit later this year.
Malta's Foreign Minister Ian Borg said his country would continue to show its support to efforts for the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity.
"Despite being a neutral country, we cannot not condemn the injustices, atrocities and abuse of power in the region. We remain at the forefront of condemning this aggression," Borg told delegates.
No official list of delegates to the talks was issued, but officials said they included representatives of European, South American, Arab, African and Asian countries. Zelenskiy said in his nightly address to the Ukrainian people that 66 states were represented.
A European Union official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said China, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates did not attend, unlike the Aug. 5 meeting in Jeddah. Notable additions included Armenia, the Holy See and Mexico amongst others. Simon Mordue of the European Council and Bjorn Seibert of the European Commission represented the EU, the official said.
"Holding the meeting now and with an increasing global representation proves that restoration of just peace is important beyond Ukraine," the official said, noting the importance of the timing, with Middle East violence escalating.
Co-chairs Ukraine and Malta issued a joint statement referring to the participants' commitment to just and lasting peace based on the U.N. Charter and recalling the important work of the working groups focused on nuclear safety, humanitarian issues, and energy and food security, the official added.
The parties would take necessary preparatory steps for a possible peace summit in future with no exact date yet fixed, the official said.
(Reporting by Christopher Scicluna; Additional reporting by Elaine Monaghan in Washington, Andrew Gray in Brussels and Olena Harmash in Kyiv; Editing by David Evans and Mike Harrison)