Spokesmen of the southern states’ academic and business circles were attending.
In his address to the gathering, Mr Putin said that Russia and the United States now really understood what an alliance meant. This gives a new meaning to their work for a thoroughly new partnership.
He quoted inspiring examples of Russian-American economic cooperation—the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, Project Sakhalin 1, in which Exxon Mobil was taking part, and the presence of General Motors, Ford and Pratt & Whitney in Russia. He mentioned dynamic space partnership, and stressed that Russia and the United States together had done 85% of the International Space Station designing and manufacturing job.
Mr Putin said that the Russian Government was determined to buttress the legal basis of production sharing contracts and so make oil investments even more lucrative.
He highlighted many stable sectors of the Russian economy, which were turning into a vehicle of general security. That point mainly concerned Russian energy resources, he added.
Mr Putin mentioned the fine prospects for Russian-US partnership in research and education, and emphasised that the United States and Russia were the world’s first countries to embark on the development of sciences according to their branches.
He stressed the importance of mutual penetration of the two national education systems, as contacts in that sphere would benefit children, parents and nations alike.
As he went over to the Afghan problem, Mr Putin said that developments were unfolding as anticipated to achieve the original aims—the liberation of the country’s north and later of Kabul. It was necessary next to embark on political settlement and determine the nation’s future. He said President George Bush’s stance was well grounded—it was inadmissible to slacken direct efforts against terrorists and those who harbour them.
Mr Putin also spoke about Russia’s prospects for membership of the World Trade Organisation, its relations with NATO, and Russian and US attitudes to strategic offensive arms reduction.