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Newspapers: Swiss keen to host Biden-Putin meeting

Published on April 17, 2021

Switzerland would like to host a possible upcoming summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his United States counterpart Joe Biden, according to reports in the Swiss media.

Overtures have already been made through diplomatic avenues, the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper said in its Saturday edition, citing anonymous diplomatic sources. The news was also picked up by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

When asked about the media reports, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said: “Switzerland is ready to offer its good offices when they are useful and desired. This also includes acting as host or facilitator organising conferences or meetings in Switzerland.”

“For confidentiality reasons, the FDFA cannot give any further details concerning specific cases,” a spokeswoman told SWI swissinfo.ch via email on Saturday.

Biden, in a phone call to Putin last Tuesday, proposed a summit in the upcoming months to tackle a raft of disputes and told Moscow to reduce tensions over Ukraine triggered by a Russian military build-up. It is not yet clear if Putin will accept the summit offer.

Finnish president Sauli Niinistö and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz are also interested in hosting the summit in their countries, reports say.

For Switzerland, Geneva may be a key location. The city was the scene of the legendary meeting between the then US President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. This is considered a turning point in the Cold War.