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U.S., Russia Take 'Important Step' Toward Biden-Putin Summit

U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to hold a summit in June.
U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to hold a summit in June.

The White House and Kremlin are inching closer to a summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.

In a joint statement on May 24, U.S. national-security adviser Jake Sullivan and his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, described consultations in Geneva as an "important step" in the preparation of a summit between to the two leaders.

"The discussions were held in a constructive manner and, despite outstanding differences, allowed for a better understanding of each other's positions," the joint statement read.

The date and location of any Biden-Putin summit is to be announced at a later date, but is expected to be held in June, when Biden will make his first foreign trip as president to Europe for a Group of Seven summit in Great Britain followed by talks with EU leaders and NATO officials in Brussels.

Geneva is said to be the likely location for the bilateral summit.

The top U.S. and Russian security advisers discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, with strategic stability a key focus.

"The sides expressed confidence that mutually acceptable solutions could be found in a number of areas," the joint statement said. "The sides agreed that a normalization of U.S.-Russian relations would be in the interest of both countries and contribute to global predictability and stability."

The Biden administration first broached the idea of a U.S.-Russia summit in April amid deteriorating relations between the two countries over alleged Russian election interference and cyberattacks, the poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Despite a series of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and sanctions, Biden has said he wants to cooperate where the two countries have common interests and seeks to avoid a cycle of escalation.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Iceland, with both sides stressing that their countries had "serious differences," but can still find ways to work together.

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