Ukraine's Zelenskiy seeks support for peace plan at Arab League summit

Saudi Arabia hosts Arab League summit, in Jeddah

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged countries attending an Arab League summit on Friday to support his peace initiative for ending Russia's war in Ukraine.

Zelenskiy, making his first trip as president to Saudi Arabia, said in an address that delegates would each receive the text of the 10-point peace plan, and asked them to work with Ukraine directly without intermediaries.

"I invite all of you who respect peace to join the implementation of the peace formula and thus, to reduce enmity, wars, suffering, and evil," Zelenskiy said in English.

"Russia is weak, we beat it when it had more weapons in their hands. Its aggressiveness does not come from strength but from the understanding that the time of empires has passed."

Zelenskiy said that a good example of how the Ukrainian peace formula could benefit others was the Black Sea Grain Initiative which allowed Ukraine, an important grain exporter, to continue supplies including to Arab League countries.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal last July to help tackle a global food crisis aggravated by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. The agreement was extended by another two months this week.

In addition to food security, Zelenskiy's peace plan includes a condition for Russia to withdraw all its troops from Ukrainian territory, calls for the release of all Ukrainian prisoners of war and seeks the restoration of "radiation safety" at a nuclear power plant occupied by Russia.

Zelenskiy thanked Saudi Arabia for helping secure the release of some prisoners of war, and called for moves to protect the Ukrainian Muslim community -- a reference to Crimean Tatars in the Crimea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

"Even if there are people here at the summit who have a different view on the war on our land in calling it a conflict, I am sure we can all be united in saving people from the cages of Russian prisons," he said.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the summit his kingdom was ready to mediate between Russia and Ukraine.

(Reporting and writing by Olena Harmash, Editing by Timothy Heritage)