The two heads of state met Wednesday afternoon at a villa on Lake Geneva, where they briefly shook hands with photographers. Biden said it’s always best to meet face to face. Putin expressed the hope that “the meeting will be fruitful.” The White House said the conversation between the two presidents and their foreign ministers, Anthony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov, as well as translators, lasted 93 minutes. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the minutes allowed 75 minutes for this format. In the second round, Biden and Putin wanted to meet with a wider group of their delegations after a break.
Relations between the two countries are very tense at the moment, and representatives of the two governments had previously softened expectations for the talks.
Swiss President Guy Parmelin had earlier welcomed the two heads of state to Geneva, the “City of Peace”. He wished the President a fruitful dialogue for the benefit of the two countries and the world at large. “I wish you all the best,” Parmelin said, then addressed Putin and Biden in brief words in Russian and English.
Biden wants to show Putin ‘red lines’
The historic meeting is taking place at Biden’s initiative and should continue until the evening. Biden had invited Putin to the summit in order to point out the “red lines” in light of Moscow’s policies, which are under increasing criticism in the West. However, the presidents of the two largest nuclear powers want to talk about common interests.
Talks about strategic stability in the world are scheduled to take place at Villa La Grange on Lake Geneva. The red carpet is wrapped. Experts expect that Putin and Biden will be able to start new negotiations on denuclearization and control of arsenals. According to information received from both sides, the topics are also the conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria and the dispute over the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. Then Biden and Putin want to appear separately in front of the press.
Video: Andreas Pfeiffer (ORF) reports from Geneva
The US President Putin has arrived in Geneva since Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday afternoon. In the past few days, Biden has secured support for his meeting with Putin from allies in the Group of Seven major industrialized nations, NATO and the European Union.
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