The Biden-Putin meeting was constructive and without hostility


According to the first reports, the leaders agreed on the return of their respective ambassadors and that both countries will review the issue of cybersecurity.

At the bilateral summit on Wednesday in Geneva, the US president, Joe Biden, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed to return their respective ambassadors and that both countries will review the issue of cybersecurity.

After the meeting, the Russian president said that “there was no hostility” during the meeting and described the conversation as “constructive”, “detailed” and “pragmatic”; Putin even described his counterpart as an experienced professional who speaks the same language.

The Biden-Putin summit, which had caused so much uncertainty, concluded after 2 hours 38 minutes, the White House and the Kremlin reported; both governments acknowledged that the dialogue lasted less than expected.

“We have finished the reduced format,” said Russian spokesman Dmitri Peskov.

According to Peskov, the initial program was scheduled for around one hour and fifteen minutes for the meeting, but it lasted more than two hours, although the media had estimated up to five hours.

Although the leaders agreed to return the ambassadors to the diplomatic headquarters, the date was not specified, according to the media.

The meeting took place after a series of incidents that strained the relationship in recent months; In this first bilateral meeting, it was speculated that the presidents would put on the table issues such as the pandemic, human rights and cybercrime, among others.

This first face-to-face meeting since Biden assumed the presidency of the United States, began at 1:30 p.m. local time. Swiss President Guy Parmelin welcomed the leaders to Villa La Grange, an 18th century mansion in central Geneva, chosen for the meeting.

“Mr. President of Russia, Mr. President of the United States of America, on behalf of the Swiss government, I welcome you to Geneva, city of peace. Switzerland is very honored to welcome you to this summit. Continuing its tradition of assistance, it is also pleased to be able to foster dialogue and mutual understanding. Presidents, I wish you a fruitful dialogue, in the interests of both your countries and the world. My best wishes, ”said the host president.

The meeting takes place at times of high tension between governments, as it occurs after a series of cyberattacks on US infrastructure, attributed to Russian hackers; as well as some issues that have placed Putin at the center of controversy or criticism: the country’s support for the rebels in Ukraine, the repression against political dissidents in Russia, such as Alexey Navalni; American citizens imprisoned in Russia and Moscow’s weapons programs.

The presidents arrived in the room for the first discussion session accompanied by the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, plus the team of translators.

For the meeting, Putin arrived in Geneva around noon local time on Wednesday, flying to Switzerland from Moscow; while Biden flew to Geneva on Tuesday, after a week of meetings with European allies.

Biden attended his first NATO summit as a US leader, his first G-7 conference and a summit with European Union leaders, all in the past week.

During this tour, on Monday, Biden refused to share his expectations about the meeting with his Russian counterpart.

“But I will tell you this: I am going to make it clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate, if he so wishes. And if you decide not to cooperate and act the way you have in the past, in relation to cybersecurity and some other activities, then we will respond.”

While Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian television before the meeting that Putin expected “difficult” talks with the American, but that Russia was approaching the summit with a “work” attitude, not a confrontational one.

Peskov assured that both countries need to clean up “the rubble” in bilateral relations; he also pointed to Moscow’s desire to regain control of Russian property in the United States, confiscated years ago.

Biden and Putin will address today’s issues where they can put differences aside, such as strategic stability and fighting the pandemic, but they could also touch on issues that confront them, such as cybercrime, the Ukraine crisis and human rights.

In recent months, the tone of the relationship has been aggressive; Biden even tacitly branded Putin a murderer in an interview.

The statement provoked a harsh response from Russia, but it did not prevent Biden from calling Putin to raise this meeting, aimed at a rapprochement.