The White House does not expect “a large set of deliveries,” but it has a list of what they are “looking for” outside of the meeting.
The eve of the summit between the President of the United States Joe Biden and Russian president Vladimir Putin, senior White House officials advanced their expectations, stating that they are looking for three things outside of the meeting.
His wish list is extensive and echoes what Biden and his administration have 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 deliveries from this meeting.”
This is what they expect, the official told reporters on Tuesday:
- “First of all, a clear set of tasks on areas where working together can advance our national interest and make the world safer.
- “Secondly, a clear disposition of the areas of vital national interests of the United States, where it will respond to Russian activities that go against these interests.
- “And third, a clear explanation of the president’s vision of American values and our national priorities.”
Last week, Biden warned of “solid and significant consequences” if Russia engaged in “harmful activities.”
For his part, Putin, in an interview Friday with the American broadcaster NBC, said that relations between the United States and Russia are declining.
“We have a bilateral relationship that has deteriorated to the 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 the United States” that is likely to arise is the so-called SolarWinds cyberattacks. And “when it comes to cyber, obviously ransomware will be a major topic of conversation tomorrow,” a senior administration official said.
Other potential issues that Biden will likely raise include alleged Russian meddling in the last two U.S. presidential elections, the buildup of Russian troops on the border. Ukraine and its continued occupation of Crimea, the militarization of the Arctic and the alleged poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
According to a senior administration official, China will also be part of the debate.
“I think we will ultimately have to hold a sustained conversation with China on arms control issues. But the president has made it clear that, at first, it is a way to start a bilateral discussion between the two major the world’s nuclear powers, ”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 any food or “breaking bread,” a senior government official said, only meetings: one with the two presidents and its foreign ministers — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov — and another with “plus five” presidents on each side. The list of “plus five” has not yet been revealed.
Putin will arrive first and then the two presidents will meet with their Swiss counterpart, Guy Parmelin, before starting their meetings.
After the summit, Putin will hold a solo press conference, followed by a solo press conference by Biden.