Putin, Biden agree to return respective ambassadors

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Geneva

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed at their first summit on Wednesday to return ambassadors to each other’s capitals after they were withdrawn earlier this year.

The summit at the lakeside Villa La Grange in Geneva lasted less than four hours.

The scheduling of separate news conferences meant there was none of the joviality that accompanied a 2018 meeting between Putin and Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.

Putin, who was first to brief reporters, said the meeting had been constructive, without hostility, and had showed the leaders’ desire to understand each other.

He also said Russia and the United States shared a responsibility for nuclear stability, and would hold talks on possible changes to their recently extended New START arms limitation treaty.

Both sides had said in advance that they hoped for more stable and predictable relations, even though they were at odds over everything from arms control and cyber-hacking to election interference and Ukraine.

Putin and Biden shook hands on arrival before going inside, Biden flashed a ‘thumbs-up’ to reporters as he left the lakeside villa where the talks were held and got into his limousine.

“Mr President, I’d like to thank you for your initiative to meet today,” Putin said, sitting next to Biden, adding: “US and Russian relations have a lot of issues accumulated that require the highest-level meeting.”—Agencies

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