WASHINGTON, May 26. /TASS/. The US administration expects US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss strategic stability and the situation in Belarus and Ukraine during their upcoming meeting in Geneva, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has told reporters.
"We expect they will spend a fair amount of time on strategic stability, where the arms control agenda goes following the extension of New START," Psaki said, referring to the decision to extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START) by another five-year period in February.
The press secretary also said both countries take part in the Vienna consultations on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program, and the two leaders may address this issue as well.
"The President will also raise Ukraine, underscoring America’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," she continued. "And he will also plan to raise Belarus and convey our grave concerns, as he has now done publicly."
"It also is three weeks away, so there could be a range of issues that could be discussed <…> during the meeting," the spokesperson said, adding that further information will be disclosed in the run-up to the event.
The United States believes that the June 16 meeting between the two presidents is vital for defending US interests, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
"We regard it as a vital part of defending America’s interests," she said. "It’s an opportunity to raise concerns <…> and, again, to move toward a more stable and predictable relationship with the Russian government."
When asked what message does it send to the United States adversaries that Biden would hold a summit with President Putin, she replied: "That the President of the United States is not afraid to stand up to our adversaries and use a moment of in-person diplomacy to convey areas where he has concern and look for any areas of opportunity to work together in areas where we have mutual agreement."
"We proposed the summit because we feel that it is an opportunity to move forward our national interests and our agenda," Psaki said, adding that Washington expects "difficult conversations," but views them as an opportunity to move <…> toward a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia.".
On Tuesday, both the Kremlin and the White House said that the Putin-Biden summit would take place in Geneva on June 16. According to the Kremlin press service, the presidents will discuss the current state of and prospects for further development of Russian-US relations, problems of strategic stability, as well as current issues of the international agenda, including cooperation in combating the coronavirus pandemic and settlement of regional conflicts. It will be the first personal meeting between the two leaders since the 46th US president entered the Oval Office. It will also be Putin’s first foreign visit since January 2020, when he visited Israel and Palestine.