‘Better to meet face to face’: Biden-Putin talks underway in Geneva
(Update 1: Alters headline, re-ledes, adds quotes, info throughout)
Geneva, Jun 16 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Wednesday began face-to-face talks in Geneva, in which the pair are expected to discuss a wide-range of bilateral discrepancies with Washington-Moscow relations at their lowest ebb in decades.
The first session at Villa La Grange involved the two heads of state, their top diplomats Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov as well as interpreters. It lasted almost two hours, the Kremlin said.
A second round of talks, this time involving other members of the traveling delegations, is to be followed by a press conference with Biden in several hours.
It is Biden’s first meeting with Putin since taking office.
Before the meeting got underway, the US and Russian presidents exchanged pleasantries in front of a raucous press pool.
Putin thanked Biden for his “initiative” in setting up the meeting in Geneva.
Biden replied: “It is always better to meet face to face.”
Putin landed at Cointrin airport at 12.29 local time (10.29 GMT). Biden arrived on Tuesday evening following a tour of Europe that has seen him take part in a G7 Summit, a Nato Summit and a meeting with EU leaders.
The presidents are to discuss a wide range of pressing issues concerning Moscow and Washington.