US, Russian presidents meet for historic summit in Geneva

US, Russian presidents meet for historic summit in Geneva

Amid tensions, Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin begin first person-to person meeting since Biden took office this January

News Service AA

With the world watching, US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday have started their first face-to-face talks since Biden took office this January.

Putin arrived by plane from Moscow about an hour before the scheduled start of the talks, which are taking place in an 18th-century villa amid tensions between the two world powers.

The two leaders, who brought along their respective foreign minister and secretary of state, are not expected to share a meal or hold a joint press conference after the talks in the Swiss city.

Security was tight in Switzerland's second-largest city, which is encircled by the Alps and Jura mountains and hosts the UN European headquarters, along with several UN agencies such as the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization.

The talks are expected to focus on matters such as arms control, cyber-security, US concerns over Russia's treatment of political opponents and election interference, and the situation in Ukraine, where Russian-backed forces are fighting in the country’s east.

Putin met Swiss President Guy Parmelin shortly before the talks.

After arriving in the famously neutral country on Tuesday, Biden had a 30-minute meeting on bilateral issues such as Swiss handling of US diplomatic relations with Iran.

Swiss newspapers played up the meeting, with French-language Le Temps headlining, "The day when the eyes of the entire world are on Geneva."

The Tribune de Geneve trumpeted, "Joe Biden makes Geneva the center of the world."


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