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Biden and Putin start marathon summit in Geneva

Here's today's foreign policy: US President Joe Biden meets the Russian President Wladimir Putin in genf, Israel Bombs Gaza in retaliation for balloon arson attacks, and a new senior prosecutor begins work International Criminal Court.

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Here's today's foreign policy: US President Joe Biden meets the Russian President Wladimir Putin in genf, Israel Bombs Gaza in retaliation for balloon arson attacks, and a new senior prosecutor begins work International Criminal Court.

If you would like to receive the Morning Brief in your inbox every weekday, please register here.

Biden and Putin meet in Geneva

US President Joe Biden crowns a crowded European tour with a final marathon summit, while he spent a day discussing points of conflict (and some cooperation) between the two rivals with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a villa on Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

The expectations for a breakthrough are low. As FP's Amy Mackinnon wrote in her summit preview, "Don't call it a reset." In Biden's (solo) press conference after the summit, expect the goal of a “stable and predictable relationship” with Russia to join the traditional evocations of the Biden government of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and an advocacy of the “rules” – based international order. "

Although the meeting is Biden's first one-on-one meeting as President, their previous meetings have been far from harmonious. FP's Michael Hirsh traced the evolution of their relationship from an initial meeting in 2001 to a discussion in 2011 in which Biden told Putin he had "no soul" so Biden agreed when he asked if he was for Putin interviewed a "killer" on a recent television show. As a sign that Putin is in no mood to cause any drama, the Russian leader said he couldn't remember Biden's 2011 comment when asked about it in a recent NBC interview. For his part, Biden described Putin as a “worthy opponent” ahead of today's meeting.

The complaints. Aside from its personal history, the United States has many geopolitical hot spots to deal with: Russian interference in the 2016 and 2020 elections, Russia's rapprochement with Ukraine, its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and humanitarian access problems there, persistent cyber and ransomware -Attacks and the treatment of dissidents like Alexei Navalny.

The green shoots. However, there are areas that are ripe for cooperation. Both countries agreed to extend the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which limited the other's nuclear arsenals shortly after Biden took office, and they could continue discussions on future arms control agreements. These weapons could include cyber capabilities as Russia pushes for an agreement that covers all new weapon systems, from missiles to cyber and space weapons.

What Putin wants. As Alexander Gabuev noted in Foreign Policy, Moscow will likely prefer a period of de-escalation of tensions as it approaches its own political transition. Although Putin is safe for at least the next decade, a new government team is likely to be formed in 2024, and population discontent in the country could become more difficult as its fossil fuel-dependent economy adapts to the diffusion of more environmentally friendly energy sources in the world market .

Speaking to NBC, Putin said he would welcome his successor even if the two disagreed. "When I see a person, even if they criticize some of my activities, but I see that the person … is loyal to the country … whatever their attitude towards me, I would do anything to support such people," said Putin.

What we are following today

The ceasefire between Israel and Gaza breaks. Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza early Wednesday morning in response to what Israeli officials called "incendiary devices" attached to balloons floating from the Palestinian enclave into Israeli territory. No casualties were reported. On Tuesday, Hamas threatened retaliation for a provocative march by far-right Israelis through Jerusalem's Old City, during which hundreds chanted “death to the Arabs”.

The renewed Israeli bombings come in support of Hamas, which has undergone a "dramatic" shift. According to a recent poll, 53 percent of Palestinians see Hamas as "the most deserving of all to represent and lead the Palestinian people," while only 14 percent of those polled equally valued the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas .

The new head of the ICC. Karim Khan begins his nine-year term as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court today, replacing the outgoing Fatou Bensouda. Khan, a British citizen, inherits a number of ongoing cases – from an investigation into war crimes, actions by the Israeli military and Hamas, to an investigation into US and Taliban activities in the Afghan war. Bensouda's final act was to open an investigation into extrajudicial killings during the Philippine drug war. Speaking to a legal blog in March, Kahn said, "It's important to be realistic about what the court can achieve."

Peru's choice. Pedro Castillo finally claimed victory in the presidential election in Peru on Tuesday, more than a week after Peruvians cast their votes. Though electoral authorities haven't officially released the results yet, Castillo received just over 44,000 more votes in the final vote than his conservative challenger Keiko Fujimori, who has accused of fraud in the face of likely defeat. If the election is officially declared in Castillo's favor, it will be the third presidential race that Fujimori has lost. As legal challenges to the vote pile up, it can take days or possibly weeks for an official winner to be announced.

LGBT rights in Hungary. Human rights groups have condemned a new law banning content depicting or “promoting” homosexuality or gender reassignment, which was passed by the Hungarian Parliament on Tuesday. All but one of the opposition parties in Hungary boycotted the vote. The ruling Fidesz Party defended the law as a means of protecting children from pedophilia, a strategy that human rights groups strongly opposed. "The association of pedophilia with LGBT people, the prohibition of full sex education and the suppression of free speech is despicable and unworthy of an EU member state," wrote Lydia Gall of Human Rights Watch on Twitter.

Tensions in Taiwan. China's air force flown 28 military aircraft into Taiwan's air defense identification zone on Tuesday. This is the largest daily attack since the island's Department of Defense began reporting on such activity on a regular basis last year. The mission takes place amid increasing Chinese military activity around the island in recent months, beating the previous record of 25 aircraft reported on April 12.

Beijing has said in the past that such operations are necessary to combat the so-called "collusion" between Taipei and Washington. This particular incursion came after China accused the G-7 of "political manipulation" after a G-7 communiqué was released on Sunday – the first ever discussed on Taiwan – in which "the meaning of Cross-Strait Peace and Stability ”was emphasized.

bits and pieces

Furniture giant IKEA had to pay around $ 1.3 million in damages and fines after a French court found the company guilty of spying on employees from 2009 to 2012. The company and its managers were charged with hiring police and private investigators to illegally access confidential information, including information about applicants, as well as criminal records. The company's risk manager is said to have initiated investigations into why one employee could afford a new BMW and why another “suddenly became a demonstrator”. IKEA's parent company INGKA said it had "implemented a major action plan to prevent this from happening again".

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