President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin decided at a “pragmatic” first summit on Wednesday to hold arms control and cyber-security talks and return their respective ambassadors, while agreeing to differ on other issues.
The discussions at the lakeside Villa La Grange in Geneva lasted less than four hours – far less than Biden’s advisers had said they expected.
Putin, 68, called Biden, 78, a constructive, experienced partner, and said they spoke “the same language,” but added that there had been no friendship, rather a pragmatic dialog about their two countries’ interests.
Biden said he had “told President Putin we need some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by,” adding: “I did what I came to do.”
The scheduling of separate news conferences meant there was none of the joviality that accompanied a 2018 meeting in Helsinki between Putin and Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, where Putin presented Trump with a soccer ball. There was also no shared meal.
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