Human rights, nuclear weapons control, de-escalation of conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Ukraine are high on Biden’s agenda.
US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed to engage in bilateral dialogue on “strategic stability” aimed at reducing risks of unintentional conflict and restricting nuclear weapons, Biden told a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday.
Speaking after a three hour streak of meetings, Biden said he urged Putin to respect human rights and political freedoms in Russia and called on him to reopen humanitarian corridors in Syria to allow food delivery and cooperate to prevent Iran from acquiring weapons nuclear.
Biden said he had expressed an “unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and discussed the common interest of the United States and Russia in preventing “a resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan. “.
He also stressed to Putin the importance for the American people of respecting “human rights” and the concern of the United States over the arrest of opposition politician Alexey Navalny.
“I told President Putin that we have to have ground rules of the road that we all follow,” Biden said.
“I also said that there are areas where there is a mutual interest for us to cooperate for our people, the Russian and American peoples, but also for the good of the world and the security of the world,” said Biden, adding that there was “more work to be done” and the next six months to a year would show whether the United States and Russia can engage in a more cooperative relationship.
The US and Russian presidents have agreed to resume arms control talks and return their ambassadors to their respective capitals after their withdrawal earlier this year.
Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for about three hours at their first summit on Wednesday, less time than Biden’s advisers expected, the Reuters news service reported.
Prior to the meeting in Geneva, White House officials described three main objectives for the summit with Putin.
First, they hoped to find clear areas where the two nations can work together to make the world a safer place, and the summit resulted in Putin’s agreement to start talks to limit nuclear weapons.
Biden planned to convey to Putin a clear statement of US national interests on key issues and warn that Russian actions contrary to those interests would be met with a US response. On the Russian side, Putin was looking for a change of tone from Washington.
In a separate press conference after the meeting, Putin described the dialogue with his US counterpart as pragmatic and unhindered. It showed the leaders’ desire to understand each other, said Putin, who added that he viewed Biden as “experienced” and “balanced.”
Putin said Russia and the United States share responsibility for nuclear stability and will hold talks on possible changes to their recently extended new arms limitation treaty START which was renewed in January for an additional five years.
“If you look at the big picture, the strategic discussions following the New START – the nuclear policy regarding these two great nuclear powers – we should clearly all be a little relieved that they are talking about it, that they are potentially going to talk about it.” further. that, ”said James Bays, diplomatic editor of Al Jazeera.
Russian President dismisses Washington concerns over arrest of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, Russia’s military presence in the east Ukraine, and US claims that Russian hackers were responsible for a series of cyber attacks in the USA.
Diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington deteriorated in March when Biden said he believed Putin was a “killer”, Urging Russia to recall its ambassador to Washington for consultations. The United States recalled its ambassador from Moscow in April.
Putin, who warned two weeks ago that he thinks the United States is trying to hold back Russia, said Wednesday he was happy with Biden’s explanation of the remark.
“Obviously, President Biden wanted to set the tone for wanting to try and work together if Putin is willing to try to work together and defuse tensions, as the Biden administration has repeatedly said, to try and create a more stable and predictable environment. relationship, ”former US Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker told Al Jazeera.