Now it is official: US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in June for the Crisis Summit in Geneva. This was the first US-Russian summit in Rhne since November 1985 and Switzerland’s diplomatic victory. When choosing a venue for a summit, three criteria are at the forefront:
First, infrastructure: There is no doubt that Geneva has the facilities needed to become the second most important place in the UN after New York. Russia and the United States maintain large missions in Geneva, including luxury intelligence. Finally, security experts from Moscow and Washington know the local conditions – an advantage when it comes to protecting both politicians.
Second, it’s about the signal you want to send. A Biden-Putin meeting in the United States or Russia was rejected this time. One or the other relationship is too bad to accept the call to “hostile land”. Unlike the Prague summit between Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, the NATO government was not an issue this time. In addition, the Russians may have spoken out against Helsinki this time because Finland is working closely with NATO. Under the current circumstances, neutral Switzerland was the obvious choice.
Third, bilateral relations between the Summit participants and the host country play a role. Switzerland is very fond of the Kremlin, especially since it does not join Western sanctions against Russia. From the American point of view, this time nothing was said against Switzerland. Gone are the tough times when discussions about Holocaust funds and banking secrecy poisoned the bilateral climate. Similarly, there was resentment under George W. Bush when Washington discovered that Swiss foreign policy was too pro-Palestinian and pro-Iranian.
In short: neither Moscow nor Washington spoke out against Geneva. If the “spirit of Geneva” quoted earlier can be revived a little, it will serve everyone.
Do good and talk about it
For Switzerland, the host role is a success. Because good service is not only provided behind the scenes. You have to be seen here and there. True to the goal: Do good and talk about it! Many more important conferences are taking place in Geneva: the UN talks on Syria, Yemen, Libya and more recently Cyprus. Negotiations are underway at headquarters. However: with limited success and limited visibility. Really big meetings often took place elsewhere.
Over the past few decades there have been Russian-American summits in Reykjavk, Washington, Moscow, Vancouver, twice in Helsinki, Lubljana, Bratislava and Prague. However, not in Geneva for 35 years. Progress on the nuclear deal with Iran took place in 2015 in Vienna. Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
Worked long hours for long meetings
International Geneva has long been looking forward to a high-level meeting. Bundesburn has worked towards this. Now you have done it again. This strengthens the role of the diplomatic metropolis of Geneva. It is inappropriate because the competition is big and agile.
Ultimately, such summit meetings usually provide an opportunity for dead-e-debts with summit participants. So Federal President Guy Formalin should have the opportunity to present his Swiss concerns. Holding the ears of Biden and Putin is certainly not a matter for a small country like Switzerland.
Diplomatic Correspondent, S.R.F.
The diplomatic correspondent is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Radio SRF. Prior to working in radio, he was an editor at St. International. Collar Docblot “, editor of the Middle East and editor-in-chief of the Paris reporter Jeet and Weldwatch.