All news

Putin-Biden talks in Geneva expected to last about five hours

It will be the first Russian-US summit since Putin’s meeting with Donald Trump in Helsinki in July 2018

GENEVA, June 16. /TASS/. Wednesday’s talks of the Russian and US presidents, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, will be held in the narrow and expanded formats on Wednesday. Although the entire event is expected to last about four or five hours, the duration of the summit is up to the presidents to decide.

It will be the first Russian-US summit since Putin’s meeting with Donald Trump in Helsinki in July 2018.

Putin’s plane is expected to land in Geneva after noon, and the Russian leader will head to the summit’s venue immediately. Biden arrived to the Swiss city on Tuesday, and has been staying in the five-star InterContinental hotel.

Talks in narrow and extended formats

As Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters earlier, the Russian leader is expected to arrive to Villa La Grange at approximately 14:00 Moscow time (13:00 local time), where he will be greeted by Swiss President Guy Parmelin. Biden will arrive shortly after. After the presidents pose for a traditional photo, Parmelin will officially welcome the summit’s participants, and the two leaders will proceed to the villa’s library for the talks.

The talks will first be held in a limited format, with the two states’ top diplomats - Sergey Lavrov and Antony Blinken also attending.

A delegation source told TASS that, in line with the schedule, the extended meeting is to begin at 15:30 Moscow time. A coffee break is scheduled at around 17:00 local time, and then talks will resume again. A US administration source confirmed that no joint working lunch is planned.

The Russian-US summit in Geneva is planned to last approximately 4-5 hours including breaks, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday. "[Talks] should last 4-5 hours, with breaks and a change of formats," the Kremlin representative said.

As Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters earlier, the actual duration of the summit will depend on the course of the discussion and the presidents’ moods.

One-on-one meeting

A one-on-one meeting is not ruled out, although not envisaged by the schedule.

Commenting on the possibility of such talks, Ushakov noted: "I don’t know what the presidents will decide, it is up to them." He pointed out that one-on-one conversations had taken place at previous Russia-US summits, as well as at meetings between the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States in the past.


Separate news conferences

Once the meeting is over, the two leaders will talk to the press separately. According to a source in the Russian delegation, Putin’s press conference is scheduled for approximately 19:00 Moscow time. "This will be an open, detailed and sincere talk with journalists," Peskov said.

According to the US side, Biden’s news conference will take place later.

Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov earlier told journalists that no agreement had been reached on a joint press conference by the Russian and US leaders, as was during previous Russian-US summits.

Russian delegation

Apart from Lavrov, Ushakov and Peskov, the Russian delegation to the summit will also include Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak were also invited for discussions on certain regional issues, namely Syria and Ukraine.

Besides, the summit will be attended by Russia’s US Ambassador Anatoly Antonov and US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan. Both ambassadors held consultations in their capitals prior to the meeting. "The sentiment is that considering the results of the summit, if presidents reach an agreement, the ambassadors may move to places where they should work," Ushakov said. "If the presidents decide, the ambassadors may return to capitals [of the countries where they work] straight after the Geneva summit," he added.

In response to a question about anti-coronavirus measures, Ushakov stressed that very serious security measures were being taken, "particularly in terms of protecting the health of the presidents, both Russia and the US take it very seriously.".