Switzerland beefs up security for Biden-Putin summit

Barbed wire and fences have been installed around the La Grange and Eaux-Vives parks in Geneva. The "Villa La Grange" is the confirmed location of the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16. Keystone / Martial Trezzini

Special security measures are being prepared for next week’s summit in Geneva between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Local airspace will be restricted for three days and the public will be banned from accessing the lake and lakeside streets in the city centre.

This content was published on June 11, 2021 - 11:56
swissinfo/RTS/Le Temps/sb

The Federal Council (exeucutive body) on Friday approved a temporary restriction on the use of airspace during the summit from June 15-17 in Geneva. The Swiss Air Force will provide air policing and tighter airspace surveillance.

Commercial flights to and from Geneva International Airport will not be affected by the restriction, the government said in a statementExternal link on Friday.

The government has approved the deployment of 1,000 military personnel in support of the Geneva cantonal police. Soldiers will be responsible for protecting foreign diplomatic buildings and will provide equipment to the Geneva cantonal police for air and lake transport.

Biden and Putin are set to meet on June 16 at the Villa La Grange, an 18th-century Swiss villa in the south of the city that is being prepared for the event.

The villa is located in a picturesque wooded park with a stunning view of Lake Geneva and sailboats. But sailors will be unable to take their boats out on the Petit Lac, close to the city centre.

The cantonal authorities will impose a wide security area from 4am until midnight on Wednesday 16. It plans to cordon off the lake and lakeside streets from the Mon Repos park close to the International Geneva district, along the Quai Wilson and the Quai du Mont Blanc over the Mont Blanc bridge, and along the Quai Gustav Ador to the La Grange and Eaux-Vives parks.

The Geneva authorities have also encouraged local businesses and companies to work from home on June 16. A ban has also been imposed on any public demonstrations in Geneva during the summit.

Security zone in the centre of Geneva for the Putin-Biden summit on June 16. The public and vehicles are banned from the red zone that day. SITG

The White House has played down expectations for the summit and said Biden plans to raise issues including Ukraine, arms control, human rights and cyber ransomware attacks. Russian officials have said their agenda will include issues like strategic stability, global crises, climate change and efforts to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

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