Switzerland to host Biden-Putin summit talks

Despite the smiles, relations between the US and Russia are at a low point. Keystone / Maxim Shipenkov

United States President Joe Biden will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the neutral ground of Geneva next month in an attempt to patch up deteriorating relations between the two super-powers.

This content was published on May 25, 2021 minutes

“The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the US-Russia relationship,” read a White House statementExternal link issued on Tuesday.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev held talks in Geneva on Monday to pave the way for the presidential summit on June 16.

Relations between the two countries are at a low point with the US accusing Russia of interfering in its elections and of a series of cyberattacks against US targets. In addition, the two sides are at odds over Russian influence in Ukraine and of the jailing of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Tensions between Russia and the West have only been heightened this week by a key Russian ally, Belarus, diverting a Ryanair flight to Minsk to arrest a dissident journalist.

The impasse, which some observers have likened to the worst stages of the Cold War, recently saw ambassadors from both countries being temporarily withdrawn home for “consultations”.

Guy Parmelin, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, tweeted that he welcomed the summit meeting on Swiss soil, which he hopes will bring benefits for the international community. His thoughts were echoed by Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, whose ministry said the meeting comes as part of the "long tradition of Swiss good offices".

There was no immediate information available about the exact location of the summit.

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