- President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin are expected to meet for four to five hours.
- Biden tried to lower expectations for the meeting. He doesn’t expect a lot of deliverables.
- Putin has met five US presidents since coming to power in 1999.
- Biden described Putin as “a worthy adversary”.
President Joe Biden’s first face-to-face meeting as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin was underway in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday after a week-long European tour in which Biden reaffirmed American alliances and reiterated his message that “America is back” on the world stage.
Biden’s first international trip as president ends with long-awaited talks with Putin that are expected to last around four to five hours, a senior administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One. The two leaders are expected to focus on nuclear weapons, cyber attacks and human rights, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss the summit.
Swiss President Guy Parmelin made a few brief remarks while greeting the two leaders, before Biden and Putin shake hands, look at each other and then enter the 18th-century villa where their talks are taking place. Biden and Putin have not spoken.
Parmelin said he wished the leaders a “fruitful dialogue for the benefit of your two countries and the world.”
Biden has sought to lower expectations for the high-stakes meeting, but earlier this week he told reporters he plans to take a tough stance on issues such as a recent spate of cyber attacks and muggings. Russians in Ukraine, but also to find areas of mutual interest where they could cooperate.
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The president “doesn’t expect a lot of deliverables from this meeting,” the administration official said.
“I met him. He’s brilliant, he’s tough, and I’ve discovered that he is, as they say when we play ball, a worthy opponent,” Biden told Putin reporters at a Monday evening press conference.
Putin has met five US presidents since coming to power in 1999.
The summit with Biden is held at Villa La Grange, a beautiful 18th century villa that overlooks Lake Geneva. Biden and Putin meet 36 years after former President Ronald Reagan and then-Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev held talks at a separate, well-appointed villa in Geneva as Washington and Moscow sought a thaw in their relations.
The US president spent the days leading up to the summit meeting with dozens of foreign leaders at the Group of Seven and NATO meetings in Britain and Brussels, Belgium, as he sought to restore relations diplomatic relations unraveled by the nationalist policies of his predecessor.
He told reporters that his foreign counterparts appreciated that he chose to meet Putin so quickly despite criticism of his summit schedule.
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“All the world leaders here as a NATO member who spoke today, and most of them mentioned it, thanked me for meeting Putin now,” he said. -he declares. “And they thought it was very appropriate for me to do that, and I had discussions with them openly about what they thought was important from their point of view.”
Biden’s meeting is expected to mark a stark contrast to Putin’s last meeting with a US president. Former President Donald Trump sparked controversy when he defended Russia against allegations of interference in the 2016 elections at their meeting in Helsinki in July 2019. Unlike that meeting, Putin and Biden plan to hold talks separate press conferences following the talks.
Ahead of the talks, Putin’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that the diplomatic meeting was unlikely to produce any breakthrough.
“We have many long neglected issues that need to be addressed. That is why President Putin arrives with the attitude of asking the questions frankly and constructively and trying to find solutions,” Peskov said. “However, the fact that the two presidents have agreed to meet and finally start talking openly about the issues is already an achievement.”
Washington and Moscow have recalled their respective ambassadors amid heightened tensions. The presence of US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan and Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov in Geneva could signal “that they are returning to work in their embassies,” said Michael McFaul, Russian expert and former US ambassador to the United States. Russia, in a statement. Twitter feed Wednesday.
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