Saturday, November 27, 2021

Biden, Putin Begins a much-anticipated summit

GENEVA – US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have begun their much-anticipated summit in Geneva, the Swiss capital chosen as a venue for the summit because of its history of political neutrality.

Both sides have underlined opportunities for cooperation, but they are diminishing expectations for any improvement in strained relations between Moscow and Washington. The meeting is expected to be more a broadcast of grievances than a platform to reach important agreements.

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“We do not expect a large amount of deliveries from this meeting,” said a senior administration official, informing VOA and other reporters aboard Air Force One during Biden’s flight to Switzerland.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, third left, arrives at US – Russia summit with US President Joe Biden in Switzerland on June 16, 2021.

Putin landed in Geneva shortly before his arrival at Villa La Grange, the venue of the summit, around 1pm local time. Biden arrived at the venue shortly afterwards – a diplomatic dance that the White House choreographed to avoid a repeat of the Helsinki summit in 2018, where Putin’s late arrival made President Donald Trump wait longer than 30 minutes. The two shook hands before negotiating.

P + 1 followed by P + 5

After the first greeting and meeting with the host, President of the Swiss Confederation Guy Parmelin, the two leaders hold their first session in a ‘P + 1’ format. Biden is accompanied by Foreign Minister Antony Blinken, while Foreign Minister Putin has Sergey Lavrov by his side. There is an interpreter for each side.

After the smaller format, the US and Russian delegations hold a wider meeting “P + 5”. The meeting is expected to last at least four hours, according to the senior administration official. The official said the US and Russians had agreed to build flexibility to the leaders ‘determine the best way to do their business’, but added that there would be ‘no breadwinner’ between the leaders.

The official said Biden’s goals are to seek out regions where the United States and Russia can work together, while making clear U.S. major national interests and making it clear that ‘Russian activities that run counter to these interests will be answered. . ‘ He also wants to set out his ‘vision for American values ​​and our national priorities’.

One possible outcome of the summit is to reverse the recall of each country’s ambassador. US Ambassador John Sullivan and Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov returned earlier this year amid deteriorating US-Russian relations. Both are in Geneva and will take part in the P + 5 part of the summit.

The meeting concludes Biden’s first foreign trip as president. Last week, he attended the G-7 summit and held talks with leaders of NATO and the European Union, to advance relations with allies and consult with them on US-Russia talks.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, left, US President Joe Biden, center and President of the European Council Charles Michel arrives for the EU-US summit at the European Council building in Brussels on 15 June 2021.

In an interview with NBC News, Putin said that ties between the US and Russia had weakened to their ‘lowest point in recent years’.

A reporter asked shortly after his arrival in Geneva on Tuesday whether he was ready for his meeting with Putin, and the US leader said: “I am always ready. ‘

The administration official told reporters on Tuesday that cyber security, especially attacks on ransomware, would be a major topic of discussion ‘between Biden and Putin.

In April, Biden suspended ten Russian diplomats and imposed new sanctions on six Russian technology companies in support of Putin’s intelligence-linked cyber program linked to the break-in of the SolarWinds information technology company.

In May, two major U.S. companies – Colonial Pipeline, which transports fuel in the southeastern United States, and the JBS meat production company – targeted cyber attacks that allegedly originated in Russia. Both Colonial and JBS paid millions of dollars in ransom to restore their business operations, although U.S. law enforcers recovered most of the money Colonial paid.

Putin has dismissed U.S. allegations that Moscow and Russian hackers are carrying out debilitating cyberattacks on U.S. companies and government agencies.

Nation World News Desk
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