A STATEMENT from the White House has confirmed that President Joe Biden has gifted Vladimir Putin a pair of “custom Aviator” sunglasses and a crystal sculpture of an American Bison during their summit in Geneva. Mr Biden gave the Russian president sunglasses designed for fighter pilots by Randolph USA as a diplomatic gesture.

The company has “since provided the US military and NATO partners with their high-level, durable aviators, manufactured domestically in their Massachusetts factory”, a statement said. Mr. Biden also gave Mr. Putin an American bison sculpture by Steuben Glass of New York as a representation of one of the US’ “most majestic mammal”. The art piece is also said to represent “strength, unity, and resilience,” the White House said. Diplomats and politicians have long bestowed gifts on foreign dignitaries.

The National Museum of American Diplomacy says that “a gift of state often captures the essence of a nation, chosen for its ability to exhibit pride in a unique culture and people”. “Presidents, first ladies, US secretaries of state and other US leaders give a wide range of gifts including jewelry, fine books about the US, ornamental objects or engraved silver trays,” they said. Following the highly anticipated meeting, which marked an end to Joe Biden’s first trip abroad as president, Mr Putin said there had been “no hostility” but not major policy breakthroughs.

Ahead of the meeting, the two leaders had mutually agreed that the relationship between the two countries is at a historic “low point”. The pair smiled and shook hands as they met in Geneva for the talk, which then lasted less time than was expected at less than four hours. “The meeting was actually very efficient,” Mr Putin said at his press conference following the meeting. “It was substantive, it was specific. It was aimed at achieving results, and one of them was pushing back the frontiers of trust.”

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