As a result of the negotiations, the leaders of Russia and the United States are unlikely to come to serious compromises, but the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden will allow launching cooperation in a number of areas between the countries at the level of relevant ministries and departments.
The experts interviewed by the VZGLYAD newspaper came to this conclusion, commenting on the topics that the presidents of the two countries plan to discuss in Geneva.
On Tuesday, Assistant to the President of Russia Yuri Ushakov announced that Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden during their meeting in Geneva, which will be held on June 16, will discuss a whole range of issues that can be conditionally divided into three components.
“Specific unresolved issues of bilateral relations will be discussed separately, then the topics of economic cooperation, climate, the Arctic and, of course, countering the coronavirus”, – Ushakov said.
He added that after discussing these issues, “regional problems are left for dessert.” In this bloc, Ushakov named such topics as the Middle East settlement, the situation in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and the Iranian nuclear program. It is planned to pay special attention to Nagorno-Karabakh, the internal Ukrainian crisis and the situation in Belarus, Ushakov noted.
According to him, among the regional problems it is planned to discuss the situation in Ukraine, if one of the parties does not touch upon this topic during the meeting earlier, which is quite possible. It will depend on how the discussion goes, he explained. Ushakov also mentioned that strategic stability will become one of the most important topics of the summit. He noted that “in recent years, many serious problems have accumulated in this area, caused by a number of unilateral steps by the United States.” Among such steps, Ushakov named withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, INF Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty.
Speaking about certain items on the agenda, Ushakov noted that it is planned to consider the prospects for trade and investment cooperation between the two countries at the summit. It is expected that the meeting will also touch upon information security issues.
“This meeting can give a signal to work at the level of relevant ministries and departments in a dialogue mode on a number of issues. Among such topics is the sphere of arms control. Dialogue on countering terrorism or on issues such as the situation in Afghanistan may also revive somewhat. The same concerns, albeit without prospects for compromises, the dialogue on the Middle East, in particular, on Syria”, – said Ivan Timofeev, Program Director of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
“There will definitely not be any progress on the topic of Ukraine,” the expert emphasized. “I don’t think this topic will be discussed at all in terms of compromises. Belarus, in turn, cannot at all be the subject of negotiations between the United States and Russia. The Americans can make claims on this topic, but Russia will point to the sovereignty of Minsk”, – the source predicts.
The political scientist pointed out that “the Americans can speak out on the topic of blogger Alexei Navalny, but from the Russian side they will be told that this is our internal affair and there is no need to get involved in it.”
German political scientist Alexander Rahr has a different opinion about the prospects of the summit.
“Considering the topics for discussion declared by Russia, I see a friendly and constructive agenda. I hope that the Americans are proposing the same topics to Moscow. I agree that it is necessary to discuss the mutual interests of the parties. Because talking about democracy and human rights is a dead end”, – Rahr said.
According to him, it is important for Russia and the United States to jointly fight the pandemic and its consequences.
“The point is not even that the Russian Sputnik V vaccine must be supplied to Europe. The main thing is to stop the epidemic in regions that do not have the ability to independently provide vaccination of citizens. In this regard, the Americans proposed a grandiose project – to vaccinate people in these countries for free. If Russia supports this idea, it will become a confirmation of the intentions of the two great powers to fight against the global threat”, – the interlocutor explained.
As for the interaction between Russia and the United States in cyberspace, a “policy of detente” is needed here.
“It is high time for the parties to stop exchanging accusations against each other. This issue could have been resolved during the meeting between Putin and Trump, but the United States did not want to cooperate. Perhaps now both sides will finally begin to create working groups and will work in this direction”, – the political scientist suggests.
Also, the leaders of Russia and the United States will certainly discuss the question of “how to save globalization in conditions when the West imposes restrictions on trade with China”. “This includes the problem associated with the construction of Nord Stream-2 and the problem of exporting Russian energy resources to the West. In my opinion, instead of looking for ways to restrict global trade, it should be revitalized”, Rahr is convinced.
At the same time, the political scientist believes that the most significant compromise can be discussed no refusal of Ukraine from the prospects of joining NATO. “In this case, all the“ red lines ”indicated by Russia will disappear into oblivion. The main thing is for Ukraine to return to neutral positions. In this case, it will be much easier for everyone to solve the problem of Donbass”, Rahr believes.
Another important regional aspect in the dialogue between Putin and Biden, according to the expert, will be Afghanistan.
“This region can become a headache for Russia, because the Americans lost the war, which they are afraid to admit to. As a result, Islamic terrorists will come there again. Therefore, on the one hand, it would be beneficial for Russia to cooperate with the United States and the West on this issue. On the other hand, it needs to protect its Central Asian allies from Islamism”, – Rahr is convinced.
The key part of the talks, as the interlocutor notes, will be issues of strategic stability and disarmament.
“Putin and Biden will talk about minimally prolonging or renewing disarmament regimes, instead of denouncing the treaties that have been concluded over the past forty years”, – the expert suggests.
As for the topic of Belarus, a lot will depend on the tone and flow of the conversation between the two leaders.
“Belarus is a member of all alliances with Russia. It would be the same if Russia started discussing the violation of human rights in Poland. NATO and the EU will declare that this is their zone of influence, and Russia should not interfere in their affairs. Putin can say the same about Belarus. But he can agree with Biden that Moscow does not benefit from Lukashenko’s constant conflicts with the West. It is true that the West is putting some pressure on him. But often he himself provokes conflicts. I think that here Russia can contribute to the settlement of contradictions between the two sides”, – the political scientist explained.
Rahr pointed out that the Nagorno-Karabakh issue can also be discussed, but not so deeply that the United States and Russia could offer any concrete solutions.
“The fact that Moscow has assumed the role of mediator in the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, no one in the West criticizes. The Americans do not particularly interfere in the affairs in the Caucasus and they do not have serious leverage over Azerbaijan and Armenia. Therefore, an in-depth conversation about Nagorno-Karabakh is hardly possible”, – the expert said.
The topic of human rights in Russia, which is traditional for the United States, will certainly be touched upon.
“Western NGOs and the media demand from Biden to discuss this topic with Putin. He cannot avoid this, otherwise his image will be shaken, the political scientist is convinced. – We see that diametrically opposite points of view have developed about Navalny: for Russia, this is a person who was engaged in activities that undermined the foundations of the constitutional system, and in the West, Navalny is a kind of Robin Hood. The discussion of this topic just needs to be endured by both sides”, – concluded Rahr.
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