biden and putin Most surprisingly noticeable point is acknowledged as the Swiss city is a favorite gathering spot for world leaders. US president Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will meet face-to-face on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland according to sources. The summit will be held at the end of a broader Biden visit to Europe and after he has met with America‘s allies in NATO and the European Union, giving Biden a chance to listen to their concerns about Russia before meeting with Putin himself.
That being said, no significant agreements are expected from the Geneva summit, according to the source familiar with the issue. The gathering is more of a chance for the two world leaders to be able to directly air grievances and see what common ground they may have going forward. Of high importance on the agenda will be talks on nuclear arms control.
Biden, who raised the prospect of a summit in a call with Putin earlier this year, has long believed in the important role that personal relationships play in foreign policy, even when it comes to the leaders of U.S. adversaries like Russia. Russia and the United States are at odds on numerous fronts, from cybersecurity to Russia’s war with U.S.-backed Ukraine. During a meeting last week between Lavrov and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the two parties laid out the various areas of dispute, but they also agreed there exist potential topics of cooperation, such as on how to stop climate change.
New tensions over Belarus also are expected to be discussed at the summit. Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is a Putin ally facing increasing resistance to his rule. Over the weekend, Lukashenko’s government was accused of forcing down a civilian airliner traveling over his country’s airspace to arrest a dissident journalist who was on board.
The act drew condemnation from the United States and many European leaders. Geneva is a favourite location for international conferences, summits and other major gatherings. That’s in part due to Switzerland’s historic decision to be neutral in various conflicts. The country also is not a member of NATO, the military alliance that Putin has long seen as a potential threat, making it more palatable to Russia as a meeting place.
In 1985, Geneva was the site of the first meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The gathering — at which arms control was focus — helped the leaders develop a personal rapport with one another. In 2015, Geneva was one of the cities that hosted international talks that led to the Iran nuclear deal. U.S. and Iranian officials, whose governments officially do not have diplomatic relations, hashed out the details together in the Swiss city as well as in Vienna and other places, along with representatives of several other countries. The Biden administration had considered several potential locations for the summit. Other contending cities included but were not limited to, Vienna and Helsinki also favored locations for international meetings.
One of the cities under serious consideration to serve as host was Bratislava, Slovakia, where President George W. Bush and Putin met in 2005. Helsinki was less likely to be chosen than some of the other possibilities because former President Donald Trump met with Putin there in 2018. Trump at the time appeared to accept Putin’s assurances that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections, despite the American intelligence community’s assessments that it did. Trump’s deference to the Russian leader during the Helsinki summit infuriated both Democrats and Republicans.