US and Russian presidents to meet in Geneva in JuneBiden marks Memorial Day with speech in Delaware
Guardian staff and agencies
Joe Biden said on Sunday he will press Vladimir Putin to respect human rights when the two leaders meet in June.
In a speech marking the Memorial Day holiday, Biden said: “I’m meeting with President Putin in a couple weeks in Geneva, making it clear we will not stand by and let him abuse those rights.”
He also said that the moment was right to show the world, and namely China, that the US was ready to lead again after four years of a largely inward-looking foreign policy under Donald Trump.
“It’s time to remind everybody who we are,” he said.
The White House said on Friday it was planning to move ahead with the Geneva summit after Microsoft flagged a cyberattack on US government agencies by Nobelium, the group behind last year’s SolarWind hack that originated from Russia.
The Kremlin has said it has no information about the latest attack.
In announcing the 16 June meeting, the White House said the two leaders would discuss a range of issues with the goal of restoring “predictability and stability” in the relationship between Washington and Moscow.
It comes amid strained relations over US election interference that Moscow denies, as well as cyberattacks and Russian intervention in Ukraine.
Biden was speaking near Wilmington, Delaware, at an annual Memorial Day service. He and his wife Jill Biden also marked the sixth anniversary of the death of the president’s on Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general.
Beau Biden, who served in the US national guard and deployed to Iraq, died of brain cancer in 2015. He was 46.
“I can’t thank you enough for the continued service for the country,” said Biden, addressing military families and veterans in a ceremony at War Memorial Plaza in the shadow of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
“I know how much the loss hurts.”
Hours before the ceremony, the president, first lady and other family members attended a memorial Mass for Beau Biden at their local church. After the service, the Bidens greeted well-wishers and for the first time in more than a year were able to receive warm hugs and handshakes.
The Bidens walked to Beau’s grave, which is on the property of St Joseph’s on the Brandywine, and left flowers amid several American flags placed on the manicured lawn.