The Russian and US presidents held their first face-to-face talks in Switzerland on Wednesday, discussing a broad array of issues and coming to an agreement on several problems, including nuclear weapons and the return of ambassadors.
President Joe Biden ‘openly challenged’ Russian President Vladimir Putin on a number of issues at their Geneva summit, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Sullivan characterized the meeting as usually “productive” and substantive, with real tangible results to show for it, and said that Biden had shown himself as the “leader of the free world,” and disagreed with his Russian counterpart where necessary.
“I really do not believe that it is hyperbole to say that Joe Biden returns from this trip as the clear and the consensus leader of the free world,” Sullivan said of Biden’s European tour, which in addition to the summit with Putin also included attendance of the G7, NATO and European Union-United States summits.
Sullivan also confirmed that Biden and Putin had discussed locally-employed staff at one another’s diplomatic missions, and that the Russian president had assured his US counterpart that the US Embassy in Moscow would be properly staffed. The official said Biden encouraged Putin to be “practical and flexible” on the Embassy issue.
The official further noted that cybersecurity was one of the issues discussed, and said the US “will be able to see in the months ahead whether progress [in this area] “is possible, or whether we will simply have to take action to safeguard our interests because progress hasn’t occurred.”
The national security advisor also commented on other foreign policy matters, saying that Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had discussed Ankara’s purchase of S-400 air defense systems, but failed to reach an agreement. Dialogue will continue, Sullivan said. The official also urged Turkey not to allow Taliban warnings about the consequences of the deployment of Turkish security forces in Afghanistan following the US withdrawal to deter Ankara from doing so.
Sullivan also indicated that the White House is considering a call or face-to-face meeting between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, promising that Biden will engage with Xi ‘in some way’ in the coming months.