No joint news conference after Biden-Putin summit: White House

By: AFP      Published: 06:48 PM, 12 Jun, 2021
No joint news conference after Biden-Putin summit: White House

US President Joe Biden will give a solo news conference after his meeting next week with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the White House said on Saturday.

A US official said the meeting in Geneva on Wednesday is expected to be "candid and straightforward".

But they added: "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 White House said the meeting would involve "a working session and a smaller session", without giving further details.

A host of issues are on the table as the two men meet, including US concerns about Russian sabre-rattling on the Ukrainian border, the imprisonment of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny, and Putin's support for Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko.

Biden also blames Russia for the massive SolarWinds cyberattack, election interference, and harbouring criminals behind a spate of ransomware attacks.

Washington has insisted for weeks now that its aim is to make relations between the two countries more "stable and predictable". 

The joint press conference that followed the meeting between Biden's predecessor Donald Trump and Putin in Helsinki in July 2018 is still fresh in the memory in the United States.

Trump caused an outcry in his own camp by indicating he accepted the word of Putin above the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 US presidential election campaign.