Russia ready for further talks if US is willing: Putin

Agence France-Presse . Moscow | Published: 22:39, Jun 17,2021

 
 

Russian president Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with US president Joe Biden prior to the US-Russia summit at the Villa La Grange, in Geneva on Wednesday. — AFP photo

Russian president Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow is ready to continue dialogue with Washington after his summit meeting with president Joe Biden, provided the US was also willing to do so.

The two leaders held their first face-to-face meeting in Geneva on Wednesday to ease soaring tensions between Moscow and Washington, with relations at their lowest since the end of the Cold War.

‘We are ready to continue this dialogue to the same extent as the American side is,’ Putin said in televised remarks.

He added that the atmosphere of the meeting was ‘quite friendly’ and two leaders ‘were able to understand each other on key issues’.

When asked to describe Biden, Putin said the US president’s portrayal in the press has ‘nothing to do with reality’.

‘Biden is a professional, you have to be very attentive when working with him so as not to miss something,’ Putin said.

‘So what that he sometimes confuses things. His press secretary is a young, educated, beautiful woman—she herself constantly confuses things,’ Putin said, referring to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

‘It is not because she is poorly educated or has a bad memory, just when people think that some things are secondary they  don’t focus too much attention on them,’ he said.

Putin added that ‘Americans think that nothing is more important than themselves’.

The Kremlin welcomed the commitment of the US and Russian presidents to dialogue on ‘strategic stability’ and arms control, a day after a historic summit of the two leaders in Geneva.

Putin and Biden issued a brief statement following their first face-to-face meeting, agreeing to start dialogue on nuclear arms control.

The administration of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had withdrawn from a number of international accords, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia.

 

 

 

‘Even though its a very short text, but the joint statement on strategic stability realises the special responsibility of our two countries not only to our people but to the whole world,’ Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a radio interview on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said the rejection of the possibility of a nuclear war by the two sides was a ‘real success’.

Since the extension of the New START nuclear treaty under Biden, ‘this is Washington’s second step in restoring common sense and a responsible approach to key aspects of international security,’ Ryabkov told Kommersant business daily.

New START is the last remaining arms reduction pact between the two nuclear states that hold more than 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear weapons.

According to Ryabkov, dialogue on strategic stability between Moscow and Washington should start shortly: ‘it’s a matter of weeks, not months’.

After talks that lasted more than three hours, Putin told reporters that the meeting was ‘constructive’, while there were still a number of divisive issues.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have been at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War, raising concerns of a new arms race.

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