Bilateral meetings with the USA and Russia in the framework of the Geneva Summit

Press release, 11.06.2021

The high-level summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will take place at Villa La Grange in Geneva on Wednesday 16 June. Switzerland will also hold separate meetings with both the United States and Russia during the summit to discuss bilateral matters.

View inside the Villa la Grange, the official venue for the meeting between US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The meeting between US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Russian President Vladimir Putin takes place at the Villa la Grange in Geneva. © Keystone

The Swiss–US bilateral meeting will take place on Tuesday, 15 June. The US delegation, led by President Joe Biden, also includes Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The Swiss delegation, led by President Guy Parmelin, includes Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), and State Secretaries Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch (SECO) and Livia Leu (FDFA). Talks with the US will focus on a long-term strengthening of economic ties and close cooperation in education and research. Switzerland's good offices will also be on the agenda.

Swiss–US ties are historically close, with around one million US citizens having Swiss roots. Relations are nonetheless dynamic, with an emphasis on education, research and innovation. The US is Switzerland's second-largest trading partner for goods after the European Union. Meanwhile, in the US, Switzerland is the sixth-largest foreign direct investor and among the top three for R&D investment. Another important element of the relationship is Switzerland’s protecting power mandate for the US, under which Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran since 1980.

The Swiss–Russian bilateral talks will be held on Wednesday, 16 June. The Russian delegation, led by President Vladimir Putin, also includes Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Swiss delegation is the same as for its US meeting. Russia, like the US, is among the priority countries of Swiss foreign policy. Bilateral relations are good and close in many areas. The stated aim of Switzerland's foreign policy strategy is to maintain a constructive and critical dialogue with Russia in order to further strengthen relations. Fostering the relationship is particularly important on account of Switzerland's protecting power mandates for Russia and Georgia. There is also great potential for economic exchange. In addition, the talks will address security issues in Europe and efforts to strengthen the multilateral level (Council of Europe and OSCE).

Strong media interest

The decision to hold the Biden–Putin summit in Geneva is a reflection of the trust that both the United States and Russia place in Switzerland. Switzerland enjoys long-standing good relations with both countries and maintains an open and transparent dialogue. Moreover, Switzerland firmly believes that constructive dialogue between the world’s major powers is necessary and expedient for solving intergovernmental and global challenges and therefore offers its good offices to this end. Interest in the summit is intense, with over 1,000 media representatives expected in Geneva. The federal government and the cantons are taking extensive security precautions.

The Federal Office of Police (fedpol) has conducted detailed risk assessments in advance of the event. Security measures have been determined on this basis and are being implemented under the lead of the Geneva Cantonal Police in coordination with fedpol and the security details of the foreign delegations, with the support of other cantonal police forces and the Swiss Armed Forces.

Various measures have also been taken to preserve the security of the airspace during the summit. The Air Force will step up its surveillance of the airspace and civilian air traffic will be restricted. The cantonal security arrangements will be supplemented by the Swiss Armed Forces, which will provide additional equipment and up to 1,000 military personnel on support duty. These measures, approved by the Federal Council at its meeting on 11 June, are intended to support and relieve the local authorities.


Further information:

Information on the summit
Swiss–US bilateral relations (admin.ch)
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Russia (admin.ch)


Address for enquiries:

GS-EAER Communication, Tel. +41 58 462 20 07, info@gs-wbf.admin.ch

FDFA Communication, Tel. +41 58 462 31 53, kommunikation@eda.admin.ch


Publisher:

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs