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Putin, Biden may achieve agreement on nuclear weapons, Iran, DPRK in Geneva — expert

Two countries have mutual interests on such topics as nuclear disarmament, the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, etc

WASHINGTON, May 28. /TASS/. The Presidents of Russia and the US may reach certain agreements during the upcoming summit in Geneva on several issues, where Moscow and Washington have a mutual interest, such as nuclear disarmament, the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, the situation in Afghanistan, cybersecurity, climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, says Peter Kuznick, Director of the American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute. 

"That Biden and Putin will be meeting in Geneva next month is welcome news despite the fact that both sides have gone out of their way to keep expectations low," he believes.

" Such summits can be of enormous significance — both in positive and negative ways," he said, providing the 1985 meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev and the 1961 meeting between Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy as examples.

According to Kuznick, the 1985 meeting and subsequent summits "resulted in major arms control agreements and the substantial reduction of tensions between the former Cold War antagonists." Whereas the 1961 summit in Vienna "demonstrated the negative consequences that can result from a failed meeting." It "heightened mistrust on both sides" and "had disastrous consequences as the world came within a hairsbreadth of nuclear war," the expert says.

"Relations now between the U.S. and Russia are the worst they’ve been since that nadir in 1962," Kuznick believes. "So the two leaders have their work cut out for them. The challenges are only exacerbated by the fact that there is little trust or rapport between them. But the fact that expectations and prospects are so low and that the problems they face are so serious might mean that progress on some fronts is possible."

According to the expert, Moscow and Washington are unlikely to agree on such topics as "NATO expansion, election interference, Ukraine, Navalny, and sanctions," but the two leaders "might find common ground on issues on which their interests overlap such as further nuclear arms reduction, climate change, cybersecurity, the pandemic, the JCPOA, Afghanistan, and North Korea."

"Any such progress would be immensely welcome," he underscored.

The summit in Geneva

Earlier, the Kremlin and the White House announced that the two presidents will meet on June 16 in Geneva. According to the Kremlin, they will discuss the state and perspective of further development of bilateral relations, strategic stability, as well as pressing issues on the international agenda, including the coronavirus pandemic and settling regional conflicts. This will be the first in-person meeting between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden since the latter’s assumption of office.

The trip to Geneva will become the Russian leader’s first trip abroad since January 2020, when he visited Israel and Palestine.