Russian President Vladimir Putin says US and Russia agree to reinstate ambassadors and will begin talks on arms control.
US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have concluded their Geneva summit, bringing to an end the first meeting between the pair since Biden took office in January.
The talks on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, lasted about four hours, according to the White House.
Addressing reporters following the meeting, Putin said the talks were “constructive”. He said he and Biden had agreed the US and Russia would return their respective ambassadors to their posts in a bid to lower tensions between the countries.
Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was recalled from Washington about three months ago after Biden described Putin as a killer.
US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan left Moscow almost two months ago after Russia suggested he return to Washington for consultations.
Prior to the summit, expectations for any substantial breakthroughs had been low, with Moscow and Washington both openly cool on the prospects of major progress.
The pair are currently at odds over a range of issues from arms control and cyber-hacking to election interference and Ukraine.
Despite tensions, the meeting at an elegant villa on the shore of Lake Geneva got off to a good start, with the two leaders shaking hands and striking cautiously positive notes.
Biden, who was set to hold a separate press conference later, pressed Putin to replace the combustible US-Russian stand-off with a more “predictable” relationship between “two great powers” capable of agreeing to disagree.
He stressed his desire to take US-Russian relations off their increasingly unstable trajectory.
“It’s always better to meet face to face,” he told Putin as they met in the villa’s library, with a globe placed between them.
Putin noted at the start of the meeting that “a lot of issues” need addressing “at the highest level” and that he hoped the meeting would be “productive”.
In his press conference after the talks, Putin said Moscow and Washington will begin discussions on possible changes to the recently extended New START arms control treaty, adding that the two countries are responsible for nuclear strategic stability.
He also said Russia had provided exhaustive information to the United States on cyber attacks and that the two sides agreed to start “consultations on cybersecurity”.
Regarding Ukraine potential membership in NATO, the Russian leader said there was nothing of substance to discuss. He also accused Kyiv of breaching an agreement to halt a conflict between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
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