As Joe Biden said before he went into the Villa La Grange in Geneva to hold talks with Vladimir Putin: “It’s always better to meet face to face.” In the era of Covid-19, this has a double meaning, in that it is better to talk in person rather than by phone or video link; but it has always been true in diplomacy in any case. Dialogue is better than the hurling of insults from a distance, and face-to-face dialogue is best of all.
It helped, too, that expectations of the talks between the presidents of the United States and Russia were so low. President Putin said there was “no hostility” and that their conversations were conducted in a “constructive spirit”, but there was clearly little meeting of minds.
The Russian leader restated his familiar defences of his positions in his news conference, deflecting every attack on Russian aggression or abuses of human rights by accusing the US of similar transgressions.
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