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How is Geneva preparing for the Biden-Putin summit?

The Swiss authorities have already announced security measures before the meeting of the US and Russian presidents — although the list is not yet complete, we can already draw some conclusions.

Preparations for the summit of the Presidents of the United States and Russia, one of the most important events on the international political agenda, are in full swing in Switzerland.

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have already met as the first vice president of the United States, but on June 16 they will meet for the first time since Biden's January inauguration.

Since the summit will be held in Geneva, the authorities of the canton of the same name are taking major security measures.

Changing the meeting place

Initially, it was reported that the summit will be held on June 16 at the 5-star InterContinental Hotel in Geneva. However, last week it became known about the relocation of the summit.

According to Reuters, the venue should now be Villa La Grange in the east of the city. It is an 18th-century historical site with views of Lake Geneva, which will provide a calming setting for negotiations that promise to be quite heated.

Villa La Grange

The reasons for changing the venue of the US-Russia summit are not specified, and this should be officially agreed on June 9.

Security measures

The authorities of the canton of Geneva have already identified a security zone for the summit and decided to close the sky over the city for this period.

In addition, the Swiss police and army closed the parks “La Grange” and “Aux Vives" around the villa La Grange to visitors until June 18, as well as installed barricades and barbed wire.

Also, from June 7, the public transport routes around La Grange have been changed — trolleybuses that used to run along the park will now stop in the center of Geneva.

La Grange Park. Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

And directly on the day of the meeting, as part of the security, the zone will be closed to pedestrians and transport in general. This is necessary so that about 30 delegation cars can park.

In addition to the villa, there is also a 5-star hotel and a Michelin-starred restaurant in the park. The hotel's website says that a table in the establishment can only be booked from mid-July. And from June 13 to 18, the brasserie, which is also located in La Grange, will also be closed.

Against this background, the city authorities proposed that the Geneva companies transfer their employees to remote work on June 16.

The Swiss Federal Council is expected to approve the deployment of the army in the area of the meeting, including armored personnel carriers.

In total, about 1,000 people will provide security, of which about 900 are members of the Geneva police. The rest are federal security services, as well as the special services of the United States and Russia.

Quarantine measures

Since June 2, media accreditation has been opened to participate in the briefing at the summit. In the context of the global pandemic, only vaccinated journalists were allowed to attend the event.

At the same time, only certificates of vaccination with drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency or the Swiss authorities were accepted.

Recall that today the EU pharmaceutical regulator officially recognizes vaccines from manufacturers Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

In addition, before receiving a press badge, you will have to pass an express test for COVID-19.

The press center of the US-Russia summit will be located in the CICG International Conference Center, which is located opposite the UN headquarters in Geneva. It will open on June 14 and run until June 17.

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