Mr Putin said he was glad to greet the representatives gathered in the Russian Embassy, and expressed his conviction that Russia and the United States would be not mere partners but friends in their developing relationship. He said that Russia and America had stood side-by-side in the critical years when the sheer existence of both countries was endangered, starting from the reign of Catherine the Great up to the years of World War II.
He said he admired the courage of the American nation in the face of the international terrorist attack, and was proud of the conduct of Russians whom the tragedy found in or close to the World Trade Centre, and who took part in the rescue. In particular, the President mentioned engineer Yevgeny Knyazev, an immigrant from Russia, who took more than 70 survivors to safety, himself receiving fatal injuries, and journalist Yury Kirilchenko, who was rescuing people until he collapsed with a heart attack.
Mr Putin said he hoped that this instance of Russian-US cooperation in the struggle against terrorism would be not an exception but the basis of further constructive bilateral partnership.
He stressed that Russia was among the first to suffer the blows of contemporary terrorism, which it had been fighting single-handed. Today, a broad multi-national coalition was ready to repulse the threat.
Mr Putin said that Russia was calling to step up the drafting and adoption of a comprehensive convention on terrorism and an international convention against nuclear terrorism. He added that it was necessary to eradicate the social and economic causes of the new threats and challenges. He also found the struggle against poverty crucially important.
The President also said that Russia was advancing a radical programme for further strategic offensive arms reduction down to the least necessary to maintain the global strategic balance. He said the world was still far from basing international relations solely on mutual confidence, so it was essentially important to rely on the available treaties and agreements on disarmament and arms control.
Mr Putin mentioned Russian relations with NATO and certain international issues. He told the gathering about the reforms sweeping Russia. Russia had made an irreversible historic choice, and was forming a mature democratic state and an effective latter-day market economy, the President said.