- President Joe Biden on Sunday explained why he won’t hold a joint press conference with Putin.
- Biden and the Russian president will meet on Wednesday in Geneva.
- Biden said he didn’t want details of a joint conference to distract from the conversation between the leaders.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
President Joe Biden on Sunday explained why he and Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t hold a joint press conference following their meeting in Geneva this week.
“I always found, and I don’t mean to suggest the press should not know, but this is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference or try to embarrass one another,” Biden said Sunday during a press conference at Cornwall Airport Newquay, The Hill first reported. “It’s about making myself very clear what the conditions are to get a better relationship are with Russia.”
Biden said a joint conference between the two leaders could lead to distractions about their demeanor and take away from what the leaders discussed privately.
“I think the best way to deal with this is for he and I to meet, he and I to have our discussion,” Biden added. “I know you don’t doubt that I’ll be very straightforward with him about our concerns and I will make clear my view of how that meeting turned out and he’ll make clear from his perspective how it turned out.
“I don’t want to get into being diverted by, did they shake hands, who talked the most, and the rest,” he said.
The White House on Saturday announced that Biden would hold a solo press conference after the two meet in Geneva on Wednesday. The meeting will be the first between the two since Biden was sworn in in January.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier Sunday said that Biden would warn Putin the US would respond “forcefully” if Russia continued its recent “reckless and aggressive actions.”
“This is not going to be a flip the light switch moment,” Blinken said during an appearance on CNN. “What the president is going to make clear to President Putin is we seek a more stable, predictable relationship with Russia.”
The solo press conference is a departure from the last meeting between a US president and Putin, which last occurred with former President Donald Trump in 2018. As Reuters reported, that meeting led to shock when Trump publicly cast doubt on US intelligence agencies.
Biden is expected to address recent cyberattacks in the US, Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, and its jailing of dissidents, like opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Reuters noted.