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Politics

Biden And Putin Won't Hold A Joint News Conference After Their Geneva Meeting

Joe Biden met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2011, when Biden was U.S. vice president and Putin was Russia's prime minister. A decade later, the two will meet as presidents in Geneva on June 16.
Joe Biden met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2011, when Biden was U.S. vice president and Putin was Russia's prime minister. A decade later, the two will meet as presidents in Geneva on June 16.

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not have a joint news conference after they meet in Geneva next week, according to a White House official.

Biden will instead hold a solo press conference after Wednesday's meeting, which will include a working session and a smaller session.

"We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward, and a solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting — both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns," the official told reporters traveling with Biden at the G-7.

Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian news agency TASS on Saturday that the Russian leader will speak to Kremlin pool reporters and other media outlets after the meeting. Holding separate press conferences is the "practice of the American side," Peskov said, and is not indicative of low expectations for the summit.

The two leaders will sit down together at the end of Biden's first trip abroad as president, following the G-7 meeting in the United Kingdom and a NATO summit in Belgium.

They've met in person before, most recently in 2011. Biden has long been involved in foreign policy, as both vice president and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And he is the fourth U.S. president that Putin — who has been in power since 2000 — will meet with.

The list of friction points between the two countries, and agenda items for the upcoming summit, is long. It includes nuclear arms control, climate change, ransomware attacks, human rights and Russia's incursions in Ukraine and attempted interference in foreign elections.

Speaking about their meeting earlier this week, Biden said the U.S. wants a "stable and predictable relationship" with Russia, but "will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities."

As NPR has reported, the meeting is not expected to bring forth any major new policy agreements.

It will be the first standalone U.S.-Russia summit since 2018, when then-President Donald Trump met with Putin in Helsinki.

The news conference that followed their meeting has become infamous: It was there that Trump publicly sided with Putin as Putin denied U.S. intelligence findings of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president's comments drew swift and bipartisan condemnation at home, and he later attempted to walk them back.

NPR's Roberta Rampton contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.