Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
I am glad to welcome you at the Kremlin.
I am particularly delighted to become acquainted with you, Mr Secretary. You are well known in Russia as an experienced politician who has a good knowledge of the history and the current state of Russian-American relations. I am pleased to note that our agreements with President Bush in Ljubljana and Genoa are being fulfilled, and that Russian-American dialogue has reached a fairly high level.
I recently received his message assessing the Moscow visit by the Treasury Secretary and Trade Secretary of the United States, and I fully agree with that assessment.
Security and defence are, of course, among the key areas of our interaction. I would like to thank you for the reception accorded to our delegation led by Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Mr Baluyevsky, in Washington recently. We very much hope that the high level of dialogue achieved recently will lead to agreements in the field of offensive weapons and defence systems.
You know how we feel about the 1972 ABM Treaty, and for us it is definitely connected with START-2 and START-1, and I would like to stress that. So we would like to have the military-technical parameters of the proposals being formed at the US Defence Department. We have agreed with President Bush in Genoa to consider possible cuts of offensive armaments, and I confirm this. In this connection it is important for us to have answers to three questions: the reduction ceilings, the time of reductions as well as measures of verification, trust and transparency.
I am very glad, Mr Secretary, that you have come to Moscow for talks with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov. I think they will be constructive, I hope so.