Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
I would like to say a few words about the work of our delegation in Genoa. The discussions were held in a very positive key. The announced agenda was carried out in full. I must say that in my opinion a considerable contribution will be made to the solution of problems now confronting humankind. One is the control of poverty and disease. We attach much importance to the establishment of a Global Foundation to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. You know that in our country this problem is making itself increasingly felt as well.
Bilaterally, of course, we discussed above all economic issues. Here the Cabinet must take note of our plans to integrate into the World Trade Organisation.
On the whole, the heads of the leading industrialised countries are ready to support Russia’s bid to join the WTO on acceptable terms. I want to specially call the attention of our negotiators from the economic team to this fact and to emphasise it once more – on acceptable terms. We know all the pluses and minuses here and will be moving in that direction notwithstanding. But our moves must be gentle and neat so that our WTO entry benefits rather than harms the Russian economy.
We discussed strategic stability and a system of world security in the 21st century with the American President. I must say that there was no major breakthrough, of course. We confirmed our allegiance to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. We still consider it to be a cornerstone of world security.
But at the same time some substantial progress was made. At any rate that is our estimate of what we have agreed on. But what precisely?
First, we agreed that we were interested in and could make significant steps towards cuts in offensive arms. This was the first substantive achievement over the last time. And, secondly and importantly, we agreed that anti-missile defence system and offensive weapons should be considered together in one package because one block of issues was no doubt directly linked with and dependent on the second block. Such an approach seemed correct to us, and that, too, according to my assessment and to that of our experts and specialists, marked a substantial advance.
We arranged for Ms Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser to the American President, to arrive in Russia at the earliest possible date. We will welcome and hold negotiations with her.
Our negotiators from the Foreign and Defence Ministries are ready for detailed and lengthy consultations with their colleagues. Let us hope that the political capital accumulated in our dealings with our American partners will play a positive role in resolving all complex problems in this field.