The two heads of state began the talk in a narrow format in the presence of the Secretary of the Russian Security Council Vladimir Rushailo and US President’s National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. This was followed by a brief one-on-one talk between the Russian and US leaders, after which consultations continued with the delegations of the two countries present.
The main topics of the Russian-American talks were strategic stability and the position of the two states on the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972.
Mr Putin and Mr Bush also discussed the outlook for bilateral trade and economic relations. In the opinion of the Russian side, the lack of positive dynamics in this sphere is to a large extent due to a lack of support for the American business on the part of the US Government. The Jackson-Vanik amendment limiting trade with Russia is still in force. The Russian head of state expressed the hope that the US would be more consistent in supporting Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation.
Mr Putin and Mr Bush issued a joint statement on strategic stability, which reads in part: “We have agreed that significant changes in the world call for a discussion of offensive and defensive systems. We already have some substantial areas of agreement. We will shortly commence intensive consultations on the inter-related issues of offensive and defensive systems.”
The Russian and US Presidents also issued a joint statement in support of the establishment of a new bilateral business cooperation institution called “Russian-American Business Dialogue”.
After the talks Mr Putin and Mr Bush gave a joint press conference. The Russian leader told journalists that he and George Bush had agreed to enlarge the format of the negotiations on new strategic weapons and hold early consultations on the inter-related issues of offensive and defensive systems. US President’s National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice will come to Moscow shortly. In addition, task forces will be formed at the foreign and defence ministries of the two countries.
Mr Putin said he was satisfied with the character of the discussions with his American counterpart on regional problems, in the first place on the Balkans and the Middle East. Mutual understanding of positions on these regional problems will help to better coordinate efforts with due account of the interests of the parties involved, the Russian President stressed.