Growing evidence suggest that US-Russia summit will be held in Geneva
US president Biden and his Russian counterpart Putin will meet in Geneva next month. That’s what American and Swiss media are reporting. The official announcement will follow in the coming days, reports Press Agency AP.
A meeting between the two world leaders has long been awaited. In April, the two spoke by telephone, following Russian troop movements along the Ukrainian border. In that conversation Biden invited Putin to a summit in the coming months to discuss recent developments in world politics.
According to the White House, there was talk of a meeting in “a third country”. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov spoke last week about a European capital as a proposed location. He added that several countries have offered themselves to organize such a summit. A Czech minister would like to bring the summit to Prague.
According to the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, and a group of spotters is a US diplomatic mission has already arrived in Geneva. Next week, Jake Sullivan, the U.S. National Security Advisor, would have a preliminary meeting in town with a Russian diplomat.
The White House, the Kremlin and the Swiss government have not yet confirmed the reports.
Switzerland, which is not a member of NATO or the EU, seems to be a logical location for the US-Russia summit. The country also has experience in organizing such a meeting.
In 1985, US President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev met in Geneva during the Cold War. The meeting was a prelude to a summit in Reykjavik, where an important nuclear weapons treaty was agreed. The two leaders agreed not to build land-based missiles with a range between 500 and 5500 kilometers.
The Last Russia-US summit took place in 2018 in the Finnish capital Helsinki. Then president Trump spoke of an “open and honest dialogue”, which would have improved the relationship between the two countries. Putin also expressed the wish to work more together. No concrete agreements or commitments were made.
The relationship between the US and Russia has come under further pressure in recent months due to a series of incidents. For example, the US expelled ten diplomats in response to a major Russian hack in 2020, which affected a number of government agencies. Russia would also have tried to influence last year’s American elections.
In March, Biden called his Russian colleague a murderer in an interview. Putin reacted laconically and said, ” What you say is you.”Shortly after, the Russian Foreign minister said at a summit with China that the US is “trying to destroy the international world order.”
In April, new tensions arose in eastern Ukraine. According to Kiev, Moscow tried to escalate the conflict in the self-proclaimed Peoples Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukrainian president Zelensky then asked for access to a special NATO program for countries wishing to join the alliance, which was against Moscow’s pain.