Agenda not against Russia, but for American people: Biden

The Nation  |  Jun 17, 2021

US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that his agenda on Russia was not against Moscow, but for the American people.

With the world watching, Biden and Putin met for more than three hours in Geneva in their first face-to-face talks since Biden took office this January.

"I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia or anyone else. It's for the American people," said Biden, who hosted a separate press conference from Putin's in the park grounds of the 18th-century villa where they met.

Biden spoke briefly and said he would continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights with Putin "because that's what we are."

The US president said he made it very clear to the Russian leader that his country would not tolerate attempts to violate its "democratic sovereignty or destabilize our democratic elections."

He also warned Putin of "devastating" consequences if opposition figure Alexey Navalny dies while in a Russian prison after fleeing to Germany for some months after being poisoned.

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Biden said Russia and the US had launched bilateral dialogue to control dangerous weapons.

Putin arrived by plane from Moscow about an hour before the scheduled start of the talks, which took place amid tensions between the two world powers.

The two leaders, who brought along their respective foreign minister and secretary of state, did not share a meal.

Security was tight in Switzerland's second-largest city, encircled by the Alps and Jura mountains, hosting the UN European headquarters and several UN agencies such as the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization.

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