Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov, two visions clash at the Human Rights Council

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A face-to-face. Or almost. A juxtaposition of images and reunions so to speak. The heads of the American and Russian diplomacy intervened Wednesday by videoconference within the framework of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council (CHR) in Geneva. Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov visibly embody two opposing ways of assuming their role in a UN body which has seen the return of the five permanent members of the Security Council. We are far from the Reagan-Gorbachev summit of 1985 in Geneva, where the beginnings of the end of the Cold War were already appearing. But this virtual duel already illustrates what awaits the Geneva institution: very lively debates. The HRC, more perhaps than the Security Council in New York, suddenly becomes the central forum where very divergent conceptions of international relations clash.

Strong tensions

Between Russia and the United States and the West more broadly, tensions have rarely been so strong since the fall of the Berlin Wall. A few days ago, the European Foreign Ministers decided to sanction senior Russian officials involved in the arrest of the opponent Alexeï Navalny. The American administration of Joe Biden no longer has the same indulgence towards Moscow as Donald Trump. It is in the process of building a strong response to the most elaborate cyberattack in Russian history against nine government agencies and 100 US companies.