By Swann Collins, investor and consultant in global affairs – Eurasia Business News. November 1, 2021
On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, US President Joe Biden discussed with the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov the topic of Russian-American contacts at the highest level, announced on November 1 Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation.
“Indeed, Minister Lavrov had the opportunity on the sidelines of various events to briefly talk with President Biden, this is important. Discussions continued on the previously reached understanding of the need for high-level contacts,” the Kremlin spokesman said. “Therefore, the meeting was important. Contacts will continue.“
According to the press secretary of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow and Washington consider it necessary to continue contacts at the highest level, to develop further bilateral relations and dialogue on international issues.
“We agree that contacts at the highest level are necessary, necessary both from the point of view of our bilateral relations and our dialogue, which concerns a wider geography,” said Dmitry Peskov.
Earlier, in a TV interview on the Russia-1 TV channel, Sergei Lavrov said that during their meeting on Saturday in Rome, US President Biden emphasized his focus on further contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin and conveyed his best wishes.
Vladimir Putin did not attend the G20 summit in Rome. According to the Kremlin press service, in a conversation with the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, the Russian President expressed his readiness to take part in plenary sessions via video conference. Earlier, Putin said that participation in international summits endangers the lives of a large number of people who accompany him on his travels, because of the coronavirus pandemics. The real reasons would be that Vladimir Putin doesn’t particularly appreciate such international meetings with many countries.
The Chinese President Xi Jinping also did not attend the G20 summit. The Chinese leader hasn’t left China in 21 months as the coronavirus spread across the world.
US President Joe Biden expressed his disappointment over the absence of the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Leaders of Japan and Mexico have also stayed home.
The tragedy of great powers
The relations between the two great rivals on the world stage have worsened over the past years, amid confrontational stances in the cyberspace and direct rivalry in Eastern Europe and Middle East. The US leadership sees Russia as a threat for the American influence in Europe and is worried by the pragmatic alliance between Moscow and Beijing.
Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin met for the first time on June 16 at Villa La Grange, a mansion in Geneva, Switzerland. Their foreign ministers also attended the meeting. This was the first Russia-US summit since July 2018, when Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland.
Both leaders tried last June in Geneva to launch a beginning of constructive dialogue, above a sea of disagreements. The concrete results of their discussions remained modest but they have agreed to relaunch their negotiations on strategic nuclear stability. They discussed the following issues : strategic stability, cybersecurity, regional conflicts, trade relations, cooperation in the Arctic, human rights. Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden also agreed on the return of ambassadors to the capitals of the two countries.
The place of this meeting in June was chosen with purpose. In November 1985, the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union also met on the shores of the Leman Lake, in Switzerland. Inside the Villa Fleur d’Eau, a luxurious mansion of the 19th century, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbatchev met to initiate a peaceful dialogue between the two superpowers.
Observers and analysts will agree that the bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington remain tense in spite of these efforts of dialogue. This situation could last and not change. As the US professor in international relations John J. Mearsheimer recently wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine, “All great powers, be they democracies or not, have little choice but to compete for power in what is at root a zero-sum game. […]“
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© Copyright 2021 – Swann Collins, investor and consultant in global affairs.