Biden explains decision to avoid joint press conference with Putin

Source: The Hill | June 13, 2021 | Morgan Chalfant

President Biden on Sunday said he chose not to hold a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva next week because he doesn’t want the meeting to be “diverted” by details of a public appearance of both leaders.

“I always found, and I don’t mean to suggest the press should not know, but this is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference or try to embarrass each other,” Biden told reporters during a press conference at Cornwall Airport Newquay. “It’s about making myself very clear what the conditions are to get a better relationship are with Russia.” 

“I think the best way to deal with this is for he and I to meet, he and I to have our discussion. I know you don’t doubt that I’ll be very straightforward with him about our concerns and I will make clear my view of how that meeting turned out and he’ll make clear from his perspective how it turned out,” Biden continued. “I don’t want to get into being diverted by, did they shake hands, who talked the most, and the rest.”

The White House disclosed Saturday that Biden would take part in a solo news conference after the two leaders hold their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office on Wednesday.

The decision means that the public portion of the meeting will depart from the 2018 summit between Putin and then-President Trump, which descended into controversy when Trump publicly doubted the U.S. intelligence assessment about Russian interference alongside Putin at a joint press conference.

The set up also means that, while Biden is expected to press Putin privately on his destabilizing and aggressive activity, he will not call out the Russian leader for his actions in a public setting when the two are in the same room.


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