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Geneva is closing down - here the US and Russia can agree - VG

Geneva is closing down – here the US and Russia can agree – VG

GENEVA (VG) Swiss security forces rolled barbed wire and advanced air defense into Geneva, before US President Joe Biden touched down at the foot of the Alps at 16.16 on Tuesday afternoon.


Russian President Vladimir Putin is not expected to arrive in Geneva until Wednesday morning.

Then the first summit between the United States and Russia since July 2018, could begin, When Putin met President Donald Trump in Helsinki.

The meeting itself will take place in the 18th century Villa La Grange building, within a well-preserved park near the center of Geneva.

According to the initial discussion, there will be no direct negotiations between senior managers.

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President Joe Biden was greeted by, among others, the US ambassador to Switzerland, Robert Wood, when Biden arrived in Geneva on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Dennis Balibos/Paul Reuters

settling the situation

It is likely a conversation between two highly experienced leaders, to settle the status quo in a relationship that both the United States and Russia consider to be at their lowest point since the Cold War.

The two presidents lamented the lack of predictability and stability in the relations between the two countries. Now they have the opportunity to do something about it.

Lightly dressed in Geneva: People enjoyed the summer weather and did not let themselves be bothered by the Summit Council outside Villa La Grange on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Terry Bringdahl

The Eaux Vives park that surrounds the meeting place is completely closed and sealed with barriers and barbed wire.

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On Tuesday afternoon, VG was also able to note that a mobile air defense battery was deployed on the shores of Lake Geneva, a few hundred meters from the park. By Wednesday morning, parts of the lake will be closed to boat traffic.

In the sun and near 30 degree heat, many people enjoyed themselves on the beach near the park. There were no demonstrators to be seen – this may be due to a ban by the authorities – and people who passed said they had lowered shoulders over the outcome of the meeting.

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10 years difference

But there is no reason to expect tangible results from this summit with US President Biden (78) and younger Russian President Putin (68).

But in areas where Biden is outdated, Putin has a significantly longer experience as the country’s leader: he was elected Russia’s first president in 1999.

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“We don’t expect a long list of tangible deliverables from this meeting,” Reuters quoted a US official as saying on Tuesday afternoon.

Putin’s foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said the day before the meeting that some form of agreement was unlikely, but the meeting might be beneficial anyway.

– We are talking about two different political systems. One where Putin makes decisions almost alone and another where Biden is largely bound by Congress and has less room to maneuver, Jacob M. said.

Air defense battery: in the immediate vicinity of the meeting place of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, a mobile air defense department was established. Photo: Terry Bringdahl

Biden announced that he will speak directly with Putin about all interstate problems:

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– I want to make it clear that there are areas in which we can cooperate, if he wants to. If he does not want this, and continues his malicious activities, among other things, on the security of the computer, we will respond in the same currency. “We will show where the red line goes,” Biden said after the NATO summit he attended in Brussels on Monday night.

For his part, Putin said that Russia has not looked much to predictability and has settled in the United States in recent years.

Here: Two chairs have been placed inside Villa La Grange in Geneva, ahead of the summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin on Thursday. The building is owned by the city of Geneva, and contains the city library. Photo: Dennis Balibose/Reuters

But the two are not without common interests:

** The arms race and the modernization of nuclear weapons are very costly for both sides. Here, at least, NATO hopes that disarmament will be on the agenda. Countries have already agreed to Extension of the new start agreement By five years.

** They have a common interest in the existence of the Iran agreement, and for the United States to return to the agreement that Donald Trump rejected early in his presidency.

** Neither Russia nor the United States can benefit from Afghanistan falling completely into the hands of the Taliban when NATO withdraws during the summer.

At work: This journalist reported to Russia Channel outside the Geneva summit on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Terry Bringdahl

But the list of problems is even longer: crises in and around Ukraine — as Biden himself put it at the top of his list. Belarus. Syria. Treatment of opposition figures such as Alexei Navalny. Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

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