Putin-Biden summit ‘a good start,’ says former White House official

Thomas Graham

© APA | Thomas Graham

# 17 June 2021 11:50 (UTC +04:00)

The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden was "a good start" when it comes to improving the relations between Moscow and Washington, however, the question is whether the sides can show the necessary flexibility, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush Thomas Graham said when asked to comment on the results of the summit, APA reports citing TASS.

"The meeting proceeded as had been widely anticipated. There were no breakthroughs. The two presidents evidently covered a wide range of issues, including those where they hoped some cooperation was possible— strategic stability, for example — and those where continuing contention is probably inevitable — Ukraine, human rights, etc.," the US expert said.

"Both sides have said that the talks were constructive, and the two presidents each indicated some respect for the other. And there was an agreement to continue talks on a limited range of issues — strategic stability, cyber rules of the road. All in all, a good start," he noted.

"But, as always, the big question is what comes next. Can the two sides demonstrate the flexibility that will be needed to reduce the tension on specific matters? Meanwhile, the serious issues dividing the two countries, and the clashing worldviews, remain. American sanctions remain in place. President Biden reiterated his firm intent to counter whatever hostile actions Russia might undertake against American interests," Graham continued.

"Whether progress can be made on strategic stability and cyber matters is an open question. President Biden admitted as much, indicating that he would reassess where things stood on those two issues toward the end of the year. As we knew before this meeting, the road to more constructive relations will be a long one," he concluded.