The White House doesn’t expect “a lot of deliverables,” but has a list of what it’s “looking for” from the meeting.
On the eve of the summit between the President of the United States Joe biden and russian president Vladimir Poutine, senior White House officials previewed their expectations, saying they were looking for three things out of the meeting.
Their wishlist is broad and echoes what Biden and his administration telegraphed in the days and weeks leading up to Wednesday’s meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. In fact, a senior administration official admitted, “We don’t expect a lot of deliverables from this meeting.
Here’s what they’re waiting for, the official told reporters on Tuesday:
- “First, a clear set of tasks on areas where working together can advance our national interest and make the world a safer place.
- “Second, a clear definition of the areas of vital national interests of America, where Russian activities that go against those interests will be answered.
- “And third, a clear explanation of the president’s vision for American values and our national priorities.”
Last week, Biden warned of “strong and significant consequences” if Russia engages in “harmful activities.”
For his part, Putin, in an interview with the American channel NBC on Friday, said that relations between the United States and Russia were at an all-time low.
“We have a bilateral relationship which has deteriorated to its lowest point in recent years,” he said.
What’s on the agenda
One of the “Russian activities that go against” the “vital national interests of America” that is likely to be brought up is the so-called SolarWinds cyber attacks. And “on the cyber side, obviously ransomware will be a big topic of conversation tomorrow,” said a senior administration official.
Other potential topics Biden is likely to bring up include alleged Russian interference in the last two US presidential elections, the build-up of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine and his continued occupation of Crimea, the militarization of the Arctic and the alleged poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
China is also expected to be part of the discussion, according to a senior administration official.
“I think that at the end of the day we will have to have a sustained conversation with China on arms control issues. But the president made it clear that from the start a bilateral discussion between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers was the way to go, ”the official said.
The meeting at the 18th-century Villa La Grange in Geneva is expected to last four to five hours and will not involve a meal or “breaking the bread,” a senior administration official said, just meetings: one with the two presidents and their strangers. ministers – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – and another with “plus five” presidents on each side. The “plus five” list has not yet been released.
Putin will arrive first, then the two presidents will meet their Swiss counterpart, Guy Parmelin, before starting their talks.
After the summit, Putin will hold a solo press conference which will be followed by a separate solo press conference by Biden.