Geneva Summit – 16 June:
This week Biden as the newly elected President of the USA and Putin as the Russian President engaged in a new set of talks at the Geneva Summit. Before they arrived, talks were set to include issues surrounding arms control and alleged Russian cyber-attacks.
Both Biden and Putin appeared to have similar views on the outcome of the talks saying that it was a time to “work together” – to move forward into a new era of peaceful communication.
Some of the issues:
Arms Control -> Many officials are in agreement that new ground could be reached in arms control, and the New Start nuclear arms control treaty with Russia has been extended for five years (a decision made in February).
Cyber Attacks -> Putin has denied any involvement in cyber-attack against the US.
Syria -> The Russian President has been debating whether to close the UN aid corridor from Turkey into Syria. The Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has the full support of President Putin causing concern for Biden and tensions in Middle East.
Ukraine -> There have been an increase in Russian troops in Crimea and near Ukraine’s border giving the USA a cause for concern over war. Putin also appeared to have an issue with NATO allowing a Ukrainian membership.
After only three hours of talks on Wednesday on the issues above and more, Putin and Biden announced an agreement to return each other’s ambassadors and laid out more talks on arms control and cybersecurity.
Putin commented in a press conference that “the atmosphere was quite friendly”, that they “managed to understand each other”, and both leaders were evidently able to create a space for a closer relationship in the future.
This talk has been held 36 years since the last summit in 1985 with Reagan and Gorbachev, marking a new change in political tensions, and arms talks could mark a new era in peaceful collaboration between two countries that have been at odds with each other for as long as many can remember.