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Biden and Putin have a "constructive" meeting of several hours in Switzerland

2021-06-19T18:41:37.722Z

The Russian president said the two countries differ on many issues. "But, in my opinion, both parties demonstrated the desire to understand each other and seek ways to get closer," he said during his press conference after the meeting.



President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for several hours on Wednesday at a "constructive" summit held in Geneva, Switzerland, in which they agreed to initiate consultations on cybersecurity and limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Putin appreciated that the meeting took place without hostilities and considered that "the conversation was rather constructive."

The meeting lasted for almost 2 hours.

"This does not happen with all leaders," he stressed. 

"Our point of view on many issues differs, but, in my opinion, both parties showed a desire to understand each other and seek ways to get closer," said the Russian president during his post-meeting press conference.

Putin said that both sides agreed to conduct bilateral negotiations on limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and that their respective ambassadors return to Washington and Moscow, from where they were expelled in April.  

He also stressed that opponent Alexei Navalny, currently imprisoned after surviving a poisoning caused by a nerve agent, "deliberately moved to be arrested."

President Biden, who will also give his own press conference, attended the meeting between "two great powers", convinced that "it is always better to meet face to face."

Both shook hands in front of the doors of Villa La Grange, the venue for the summit and where they were received by the President of Switzerland and host of the event, Guy Parmelin. 

Once inside, and moments before starting the closed-door talks, they posed for the press accompanied by the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden (second from the left), and the President of Russia (third from the left), Vladimir Putin, together with the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, (first from the left), and the Minister of Russian Foreign Secretary Sergey Lavrov (right) during the bilateral meeting at Villa la Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel / Pool Photo via AP) AP

During those first minutes there were unusual moments at the beginning of a summit, with shouts and shoves from reporters who reproached members of Putin's security for preventing them from doing their work.

The appointment was divided into three parts.

Only the presidents with the secretary of state and the Russian foreign minister participated in the first.

Members of both governments also spoke in the next two sessions. 

Tension to the limit

Biden and Putin attended the meeting with the aim of moving towards the thaw of their relations, although a series of issues separates them.

The United States accuses Russia of being behind the cyberattacks suffered, of interfering in the presidential campaigns of 2016 and 2020, of meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine and of persecuting the Russian opposition. 

Putin categorically denied these allegations in an exclusive interview with our sister network NBC News.

"We have been accused of all kinds of things," Putin stressed, "Interference in elections, cyberattacks and a long etcetera. And not once, not once, have they bothered to present any kind of proof or evidence. Only accusations. unfounded, "he added.

The Russian president also

rejected the accusations that linked him to the murder of several opposition leaders

in his country.

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The escalation of tension had diplomatic consequences.

In April, both governments expelled officials from the Moscow and Washington embassies from their country. 

Biden said earlier this week that it would be an important step if the United States and Russia can finally find "stability and predictability" in their relationship, a seemingly modest goal for dealing with whom the president considers one of America's main adversaries.

"We should decide which areas are of mutual interest, the interest of the world, cooperate and see if we can do it," said the US president.

"And on the areas in which we do not agree, make it clear what the red lines are," he said.

In the same vein, the Secretary of State made a statement days before the meeting.

“This is about two things for the president, and he has been very clear about it: telling President Putin in a direct way that we are looking for a more stable and predictable relationship and that if we can achieve that, there are areas where cooperation is in our common interest.

But

if Russia continues to take reckless and aggressive actions, we will respond with great force,

"he added.

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Putin agrees that the bilateral relationship needs to be more "stable and predictable ... this is something we have not seen in recent years."

But his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that they did not expect progress and that "the situation is too difficult in Russian-American relations."

In his opinion, "the fact that the two presidents have agreed to meet and finally start talking openly about the problems is already an achievement."

The Russian president acknowledged during the interview with NBC News that Biden "is radically different" from former President Donald Trump, whom he called an "extraordinary individual", but compared his behavior to Biden's long career in politics.

"That's a different kind of person," Putin said of Biden.

"I am very hopeful that, yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages,

but there will be no impulsive movement on the part of the sitting US president

," he added.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin is defiant during an interview with NBC News, days before his meeting with Joe Biden. NBC News

In the two months since Biden invited Putin to meet him, various Russian groups have been linked to cyberattacks against US government agencies, as well as a major meat producer and the largest oil pipeline on the East Coast.

Russia also backed the president of Belarus, a Moscow ally, when he landed a plane to detain a dissident journalist.

And before the Geneva summit, he banned several political organizations linked to opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in jail after surviving a nerve agent poisoning.

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Despite the differences between the two countries, there are areas in which tangible agreements are expected, such as the start of a new round of arms control cooperation, known as strategic stability talks.

Biden has also said that he believes he can cooperate with Russia in the fight against climate change and conflicts in the Middle East.

The president arrived in Geneva on Tuesday after meeting in recent days with his G-7 partners, the United Kingdom and NATO, seeking to strengthen the worn-out US alliances left by Trump at the end of his term and to make a common front. before China and Russia.

Putin arrived on the same Wednesday. 

With information from NBC News and The Associated Press.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2021-06-19

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