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Putin Refers to Talks with Biden as Constructive; Let’s Get Down to Work

June 16, 2021 (EIRNS)—In his post-summit press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin reported that the two Presidents had agreed that diplomatic channels between the two countries should again function: the two Ambassadors will return to their posts within a day or two, and the Russian Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department will “begin consultations on the entire range of cooperation on the diplomatic track.”

Putin, like Biden, emphasized the importance of strategic stability talks:

“The United States and the Russian Federation bear special responsibility for global strategic stability, at least because we are the two biggest nuclear powers—in terms of the amount of ammunition and warheads, the number of delivery vehicles, the level of sophistication and quality of nuclear arms. We are aware of this responsibility. I think it is obvious to everyone that President Biden made a responsible and, we believe, timely decision to extend New START for five years, that is, until 2024.”

What comes next on this front? “We agreed to start interdepartmental consultations under the aegis of the U.S. Department of State and the Foreign Ministry of Russia. Colleagues will determine at the working level the line-up of these delegations, the venues and frequency of meetings.”

Similar consultations between the Foreign Ministry and State Department were agreed on two other major issues on the table: cybersecurity and an exchange of prisoners held by both countries. The two Presidents also discussed cooperation in the Arctic in some detail, he reported.

Asked for a general assessment of the talks, Putin replied:

“There was no hostility at all. Quite the contrary. Our meeting was, of course, a principled one, and our positions diverge on many issues, but I still think that both of us showed a willingness to understand each other and look for ways of bringing our positions closer together. The conversation was quite constructive.”

He described Biden variously as level-headed, experienced, seasoned, saying “we generally spoke the same language,” each defending our national interests, but looking for pragmatic relations. We discussed red lines, but did not discuss them with specifics—we understand them, and they understand us. He called the talks “frank and candid,” but in his view, “productive,” “fruitful,” held “in an enabling atmosphere.”

Asked if there is confidence between their nations now, Putin answered: We had “glimpses” of confidence, at least. Asked if he has illusions about Russian relations with the United States after the summit, he explained: “I did not have any illusions to begin with. They do not and cannot exist now.” We do not know what is brewing inside the American political opposition. There are proponents in favor of improving relations inside the U.S., and proponents against. Who will prevail? We do not know, he said.

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