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President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are working toward holding their first presidential summit in Geneva in June, during Biden’s first trip abroad as president, U.S. officials tell The Associated Press. National security adviser Jake Sullivan is meeting in Geneva with his Russian counterpart, Nikolay Patrushev, to prepare for a potential summit, and the White House and Kremlin are eyeing June 15-16. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Putin is generally inclined to accept Biden’s invitation, Politico reports.
The U.S. and Russia are at loggerheads over suspected Russian hacking of U.S. companies, election interference, and, most recently, its support of Belarus forcibly grounding a commercial jetliner so it could arrest a dissident journalist on board. Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met last week in Iceland, where Lavrov proposed a new U.S.-Russia strategic dialogue. Blinken has said the Biden administration wants a “predictable, stable relationship” with Moscow.
Geneva, a Cold War staple for diplomacy and intrigue, last hosted a summit between U.S. and Russian leaders in 1985, when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev first met face-to-face. Switzerland is neutral territory and not part of NATO, making it a palatable choice for Russia.