Putin-Biden Geneva summit set for lakeside villa

Putin-Biden Geneva summit set for lakeside villa
Villa La Grange, where Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will meet. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
The June 16 summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin looks set to be held in a plush villa overlooking Lake Geneva, given the security lockdown zone announced Wednesday.

The Geneva regional authorities issued a decree fixing the secure zone around the talks between US President Biden and his Russian counterpart.

The secure zone screens off the waterfront on both sides of Lake Geneva, a section of the lake itself and two adjacent parks surrounding neighbouring villas on the south side: the Parc de La Grange and the Parc Eaux-Vives.

Views from villas sweep down over the tree-lined parks to the shore, and across Lake Geneva towards the United Nations and the Jura mountains beyond.

Temporary security fencing has been erected around the parks.

“The council is pleased that the US and Russian delegations have chosen Geneva to host their heads of state meeting,” it said. “This choice reaffirms the preponderance of Switzerland and of international Geneva on the global diplomatic scene.”

The authorities urged people to work from home and avoid travel as much as possible on the day itself.

“The council calls for the responsibility and understanding of everyone, so that this important event can take place under excellent conditions, in the Geneva tradition of respect, welcome and dialogue,” it said.

An unnamed US official confirmed to AFP that the summit was being held in a villa.

The 18th-century Villa La Grange is a former grand family home used to host the Swiss city’s civic receptions for more than a century.

The main entrance gates to the park are guarded by two stone lions, which were cleaned up with a pressure hose on Tuesday ahead of the summit, AFP witnessed.

Meanwhile the neighbouring luxury Hotel-Restaurant Eaux-Vives, which dates back to 1750, has 16 suites and can hold events for up to 500 people.

During the summer months, the two parks would typically be filled by picnickers.


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