Biden-Putin Meeting Will Be Held At An 18th-Century Villa In Geneva Park

GENEVA — The Meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be held in Geneva next week at an 18th-century manor home in the heart of a public park with lake views, according to the Swiss Foreign Ministry.

Swiss officials closed the Parc de la Grange in Geneva, which features the Villa La Grange as its main building, to the public for ten days on Tuesday, with no explanation given until Thursday. On its Twitter account, the government announced the site’s selection.

lgnews-Biden-Putin-Meeting3Security personnel have posted warning signs, rerouted traffic and neighboring parking, and installed double-fencing around the park. The wide lawn and garden sloping down into Lake Geneva have been spruced up by landscape staff.

The gardens and villa are surrounded by huge trees, including 200-year-old cedars, providing a relatively quiet and lush setting for the two leaders’ meeting on Wednesday, which comes at the end of Biden’s first abroad diplomatic trip since taking office in January. On Thursday, he was in the United Kingdom.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, spelled out the complete list of concerns that Biden would highlight during the meeting on Thursday, including the Ukraine conflict, human rights violations, and suspected Russian ransomware attacks.

Psaki anticipated a “frank meeting” on CBS, noting that the two leaders had “a lot of disagreements,” but also pointing to areas where “we can work together,” such as the Iran nuclear deal and disarmament.

lgnews-Biden-Putin-Meeting4“It’s in our best interests for us to go to a more solid and predictable partnership. We don’t want it to be confrontational and tense all of the time,” she explained. “We’re hoping this is the beginning of the beginning for that.”

According to the city’s website, the summit conference location hosted a Geneva conference led by Henri Dunant, a co-founder of the Red Cross, in 1864, and Pope Paul VI sponsored a Mass in the park in 1969 that drew around 70,000 people.

The home, which was donated to the Geneva municipality in 1917, is generally closed to the public but is used for official gatherings.

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