Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President George W. Bush opened their negotiations with restricted attendance, after which the two countries’ delegations were admitted to continue the talks.
Representing Russia were Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo, Presidential Executive Office deputy chiefs Dmitry Medvedev and Sergei Prikhodko, Kremlin strategic stability adviser Igor Sergeyev, Deputy Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky, and chief of the Presidential Economic Directorate Anton Danilov-Danilyan.
Representing the United States were Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and high officers of the National Security Council and the Department of State.
The agenda of the talks revolved round the coordination of the fight against terrorism. The situation in the world and in its problem-laden parts—Central Asia, Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict zone and the Balkans—also came under discussion. The presidents also exchanged opinions on topical aspects of Russian-US relations, in particular, strategic offensive and defensive arms reductions.
Mr Putin and Mr Bush made joint statements on the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East, the fight against bioterrorism and drug trafficking, new Russian-US relations, and economic affairs.
The presidents summarised the talks at a news conference. Mr Bush told journalists that the parties had not yet come to a compromise on the ABM Treaty of 1972. The United States had repeatedly said before that it intended to withdraw from the treaty, which it deemed outdated. Mr Bush said that the changed international situation made bilateral arms control treaties redundant as a matter of principle, and proposed to establish an arrangement under which either party could unilaterally reduce its nuclear arsenals. The United States intended to reduce its strategic nuclear arsenals to 1,700–2,200 weapons within ten years on that basis.
Mr Putin remarked in response that it was too early to determine the fate of the ABM Treaty, and the dialogue was to go on.
The presidents agreed on the peacetime restructuring of Afghanistan. They said at the news conference that they were determined to do everything possible for settlement in Afghanistan and the establishment of its new broad-based government with multi-ethnic representation. Mr Putin said that the Afghan nation was to determine its destiny independently with active United Nations participation.
As he went over to the protection of human rights in Russia, Mr Bush acknowledged that the present situation thoroughly differed from the Soviet Union. He welcomed the Russian leadership’s commitment to political dialogue in Chechnya, and emphasised Russia’s progress with emigration and protection of religious and ethnic minorities, including the Russian Jewish community.
Mr Bush also promised that his administration would ask Congress to exempt Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
The presidents also referred at the news conference to themes reflected in their joint statements—measures against drugs and bioterrorism, bilateral economic partnership, and Russia-NATO relations.