In Switzerland, preparations are underway for the ‘historic’ Biden-Putin summit.
On June 11th, the Federal Council approved a temporary restriction on the use of airspace during the summit between President Biden and President Putin from 15th to 17th June 2021 in Geneva.
The Swiss Air Force will provide air policing and tighter airspace surveillance. The armed forces will also set up a support service to assist the civilian authorities in providing security on a subsidiary basis.
In order to ensure adequate security during the meeting in Geneva between the US president Joe Biden and the Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Federal Council has approved a temporary restriction on the use of airspace in the Geneva area from 15 to 17 June 2021.
“As this is a high-level international summit, such a measure is necessary to ensure security during the event. Switzerland is obliged to ensure the protection of persons who enjoy special protection under international law, such as the American and Russian heads of state. The Swiss Air Force will provide air policing and tightened airspace surveillance.”
The use of airspace in the zone above the Place des Nations in Geneva will be restricted from Tuesday 15 June 2021 8am local time until Thursday 17 June 2021 5pm local time. Commercial flights to and from Geneva International Airport will not be affected by the restriction.
At its meeting the Federal Council also approved the subsidiary deployment of a maximum of 1,000 military personnel in support of the Geneva cantonal authorities.
“In particular, the armed forces will be responsible for protecting foreign representations and will provide equipment to the Geneva cantonal police for air and lake transport. These measures complement the security measures put in place by the cantonal authorities.”
Joe Biden and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, are set to hold their 16 June summit in an 18th-century Swiss villa overlooking Lake Geneva.
The talks are expected to be heated.
Biden will meet Boris Johnson to discuss the UK-US relationship and he and Jill Biden will meet Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on June 13th.
Asked about his aim for the foreign trip, Biden said it was “strengthening the alliance”, probably referring to both the Group of Seven powers (G7) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
That aim, he said was to “make it clear to Putin and China that Europe and the US are tight”. He said he did not know if talking to Putin about harbouring cybercriminals in Russia would produce an agreement, against a backdrop of the US facing an increasing threat from foreign ransomware attacks.
In the cold war era, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev held their first summit in Geneva in November 1985 and agreed to pursue cuts in the US and Soviet nuclear arsenals.
In Geneva in 2009, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, gave the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, a yellow box bearing a red “reset” button to symbolise improved ties under Barack Obama’s presidency. But the word “reset” was mistranslated into the Russian word for “overcharge”, creating an awkward moment.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and Lavrov will accompany Biden and Putin.