US President Joe Biden has said that he was ready for an unconditional meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin (Pic: Courtesy ITAR-TASS)
After surprising the world on Thursday that he was ready to lift patents that will untap the flow of Covid-19 vaccines, US President Joe Biden has once again caught the globe off guard by proposing that he was ready for an unconditional meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
On Friday, Biden said he was confident that a meeting with Putin can be organised.
"I’m confident we’ll be able to do it. We don’t have any specific time or place. That’s being worked on," he observed.
Biden made it plain that the recent tensions between US-ally Ukraine and Russia will not deter him from engaging with Putin. "It does not impact my desire to have a one-on-one meeting (with Putin)," Biden observed in response to a question on Moscow-Kiev fracas.
"He [Putin] had more troops [at the Russian-Ukrainian border] before. He’s withdrawn troops," the head of state said, Russia’s Tass news agency quoted Biden as saying.
Biden’s openness to engage with Putin, for the moment, reins in pundits who foresaw a resumption of a Cold War between the US and Russia on Biden’s watch.
Analysts say that Biden is showing early signs of an “idealistic” President on the footsteps of Presidential Great Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), committed to bringing path breaking change at home and abroad.
It is no secret that FDR is Biden’s role model. “Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and the New Deal are his political lodestars. He studied FDR’s transition to the presidency for inspiration, hung a massive portrait of FDR in the Oval Office and invoked FDR in his recent speech to a joint session of Congress,” wrote the publication The Hill.
In an address to Congress after completing 100 days in office, Biden said: “In another era when our democracy was tested, Franklin Roosevelt reminded us — in America, we do our part.”
Biden’s recent moves included the sanctioning of a $1.9 trillion relief package — and a $2 trillion job plan, have a faint echo of FDR’s New Deal, which got America out of a chronic economic depression.
“For Roosevelt, there was an explicitly political purpose to the public works programs — to restore Americans’ belief that the government works for them,” historian Eric Rauchway, author of Why the New deal Matters was quoted as saying in an article published by the website Vox.com.
According to a Reuters report, Biden and his advisers would want a summit with Putin in a third country while the U.S. president is in Europe in mid-June for a Group of Seven meeting in Britain and talks with NATO allies in Brussels.
But negotiations with the Russians on staging the summit are continuing,
"We're working through the question of some logistics - place, location, time, agenda, all the specifics - that was always going to happen at a staff level. It's really up to them what they want to achieve," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quoted as saying.
“Obviously, human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, values are all issues the president, Secretary (of State Antony) Blinken, National Security Adviser (Jake) Sullivan raised with their counterparts. But the invitation to have a discussion and have a meeting was not offered with the prerequisite that every issue is resolved in advance. We expect we will still continue to have disagreements,” she said.
Russian news agency TASS quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Moscow was studying the possibility of a Putin-Biden meeting.
Earlier Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 TV channel that the Putin-Biden meeting could be held "in June, and there are even particular dates," he noted, although declining to name these dates.
On April 13, Putin and Biden held a telephonic conversation after which the White House had announced that Biden had put forward the idea of holding the summit "in a third country in the coming months." Later, Biden specifically said that he could meet Putin this summer in Europe.