Washington / Moscow (dpa) – Against the backdrop of enormous tensions, US President Joe Biden will meet with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin for the first time since taking office next month.
The White House and Kremlin announced on Tuesday that the summit proposed by Biden will take place in Geneva on June 16. Putin had long left it open whether he would accept Biden’s invitation to the summit. The White House has now announced that the goal is to restore “predictability and stability” in bilateral relations. Biden and Putin would discuss “the full range” of pressing issues.
The Kremlin report stated that the purpose of the meeting was to develop Russian-American relations. International issues should also be addressed, including the fight against the corona pandemic and the resolution of regional conflicts. The talks should also be about arms control and strategic stability in the world. An agenda has not yet been set, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov had said earlier.
For Biden, completing his first trip abroad
For Biden, the long-awaited meeting with Putin on June 16 should mark the end of his first trip abroad as president of the US, which will take him to Europe: from June 11-13 he will attend the G7 summit in Britain travel afterwards. at the NATO summit on June 14 in Brussels. A summit between the US and the EU is also planned there on the same day. During the trip, Biden aims to restore transatlantic relations that suffered badly under his predecessor Donald Trump. In the future, Biden wants to stand up against Russia and China together with their allies.
Relations between Washington and Moscow have been tense – especially since Biden moved to the White House on January 20. The American Democrat had already made it clear during the election campaign that he would take a tougher course against the Kremlin. About the then reigning US President Trump, Biden said, “He is Putin’s puppy.” During his four-year tenure, Republican Trump was repeatedly accused of hugging Putin. After his election victory over Trump, Biden kept his promise – sparing neither harsh words against Moscow nor deeds.
Biden called Putin a “murderer”
In an interview in March, Biden replied in the affirmative when asked if he considered Putin a “murderer” – Russia then temporarily withdrew its ambassador from Washington. In the following month, the US president stressed that he did not want a “cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia.” However, immediately before that, the US government had imposed sanctions on Moscow in retaliation for hacker attacks and interference in the US elections attributed to Russia. The Russian government immediately responded with countermeasures.
Biden had already proposed the summit with Putin in mid-April – “to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia,” as the White House announced at the time. Recently, the Kremlin made it clear almost every day that Putin still had to make the decision about the direct talks – based on a detailed analysis of the significance of such a summit.
Willingness of both countries for better relationships
Preparations for the meeting had long been underway. Last Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov in Reykjavik, Iceland. The two ministers stressed their country’s willingness to improve relations. At the same time, they left no doubt about how tense the relationship is. “It’s no secret that we have our differences,” said Blinken. Lavrov said, “Our assessments of the international situation vary widely, we have completely different approaches to the tasks we need to resolve to normalize the situation.”
Most recently, there were already indications that the summit will take place – and where it will. Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan and the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, met in Geneva. Subsequently, a ‘joint statement’ was distributed in Washington and Moscow on Monday, a rarity in itself. It said: “The meeting was an important step in preparation for a planned US-Russia summit, the date and location of which will be announced at a later date.” Tuesday was the day – at the same time the White House and the Kremlin sent their respective notifications of the peak meeting.
The Nobel laureate and former Kremlin head Mikhail Gorbachev told the Interfax office that the two presidents had a lot to discuss. “Now there is another president in the White House and you can negotiate with him. It’s important to build trust, ”said the 90-year-old. Biden’s predecessor Trump was not a reliable partner. A good result is important. “It may work, but it is difficult.”