One of the key topics the two leaders discussed was the Syrian conflict. Also, the presidents of Russia and the US discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula and Iran’s nuclear programme, and touched on missile defence related issues, reduction of nuclear armaments and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Following the meeting, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama issued several joint statements.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: We’ve had talks with the President of the United States on almost all the matters: we started with the economy and discussed it very substantively. We agreed to launch new mechanisms for cooperation in this area, including at the level of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Vice President of the United States of America. We talked in detail about security issues – strategic security between our two nations and throughout the world overall. I think we have the opportunity to move forward in the most sensitive areas.
Naturally, we discussed problem spots on the planet, including Syria. There are still some aspects where our positions do not align, but we are united by a common aspiration to stop violence, stop the growth of victims in Syria and resolve the problem by peaceful means, including with the help of talks in Geneva. We agreed to push forward the peace talk process and push the parties to the negotiations table, organise talks in Geneva.
We express hope that after the elections in Iran, there will be new opportunities to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem. We will try to do that bilaterally and within the framework of the international negotiation process.
Naturally, we spoke about the problem of North Korea. We agreed to bolster our cooperation in all these areas.
I am very grateful to the US President for the detailed discussion and for the very sincere exchange of opinions we had today.
President of the United States of America Barack Obama: I had a very useful conversation with President Putin, and I began by thanking him again for the cooperation that was provided in dealing with the tragedy of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. We have a shared interest in countering terrorist violence, and we are continuing to strengthen our cooperation on this issue, including as we welcome Russia hosting the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
As President Putin indicated, we had extensive discussions about how we can further deepen our economic and commercial relationships. With Russian accession to the WTO and the removal of Jackson-Vanik, I think we’re poised to increase both trade and investment between our two countries, and that can create jobs and business opportunities both for Russians and Americans.
Our discussions on North Korea and Iran were very productive, and we both agreed to consult closely on the North Korean issue. And on Iran, we both expressed cautious optimism that with the new election there, we may be able to move forward on a dialogue that allows us to resolve the problems with Iran’s nuclear programme.
With respect to Syria, we do have differing perspectives on the problem, but we share an interest in reducing the violence, securing chemical weapons and ensuring that they’re neither used nor are they subject to proliferation and that we want to try to resolve the issue through political means if possible, so we will instruct our teams to continue to work on the potential of a Geneva follow-up to the first meeting.
And finally, we had a discussion about the fact that as the two nuclear superpowers, we have a special obligation to try to continue to reduce tensions, to build on the work that we did with the New START and to lead the world in both nuclear security issues and proliferation issues. And one of the concrete outcomes of this meeting is that we’ll be signing the continuation of the cooperation that was first established through the Nunn-Lugar programme to counter the potential threats of proliferation and to enhance nuclear security. And this, I think, is an example of the kind of constructive, cooperative relationship that moves us out of a Cold War mind-set into the realm where by working together, we not only increase security and prosperity for the Russian and American people, but also help lead the world to a better place.
And finally, we compared notes on President Putin’s expertise in Judo and my declining skills in basketball. [Laughter.] And we both agreed that as you get older, it takes more time to recover.
Vladimir Putin: Mr President wants to relax me with the statement of his declining skills. [Laughter.]