President Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,
We will brief you about the meeting and talks with the President of the United States. In our opinion, it was a highly productive and useful meeting. Like in our previous talks in Ljubljana and Genoa, it was a frank and trusting conversation. Russian-American cooperation is in a steady uptrend. We respond to the global changes that took place in the world and we consistently strengthen the foundations of our renewed relations. Our strategic priority in the new century is a long-term partnership. A partnership based on the common values of world civilisation. A partnership geared to the common goals of global development and progress. This is the direction we intend to move in. Full-scale talks in the United States are scheduled for November. We will have a detailed review of Russian-American relations and discuss the most significant international issues. Our ministries, agencies and experts in charge of preparing the summit have received corresponding instructions.
The political, economic and psychological consequences of the September 11 tragedy are felt acutely in many countries and practically on all the continents. I think no one has any doubts any longer that the unprecedented challenge of fighting terrorism calls for pooling efforts of the world community. And we have prepared and issued a joint statement on that.
We have made a thorough analysis of the Russian-American dialogue on strategic stability. As you remember, an agreement was reached in Genoa that the interrelated issues of strategic offensive and defensive weapons will be discussed together. In our estimation there is some progress, in the first place as regards strategic offensive weapons. We have reaffirmed our mutual commitment to reducing strategic offensive weapons. Now the task is to determine the parameters of reductions and to put in place a reliable and verifiable mechanism of reducing the nuclear potentials of Russia and the US.
We have also moved forward on the issues of anti-missile defence. I for one believe we have an understanding that we can reach some agreements to meet the national interests of Russia and the United States with due account of the need to strengthen international stability in that important sphere. During the talk we exchanged opinions on acute regional issues: Iraq, the Middle East, the Balkans and others. We are still to discuss Russia’s relations with NATO.
We attach particular importance to business cooperation with the United States. We agreed in Ljubljana and Genoa that we would pay special attention to that. These agreements are working. Russian-American trade, economic and investment links have greatly expanded. US Secretary of Trade Donald Evans came to Moscow twice during the past months. We have hosted Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil and US trade negotiator Robert Zoellick. I must say that we have received a clear signal from the President of the United States. All our partners have shown a genuine commitment to broadening our relations. The Russian-American business dialogue is moving forward. What is particularly important is that it is gradually bringing in not only major Russian and US companies, but also medium and small businesses. We have agreed to work closely on a concrete plan of economic cooperation. We will discuss it in more detail in November. Thank you.
President Bush: My administration seeks a new relationship with Russia based on cooperation and mutual interests, instead of confrontation and mutual vulnerability. We must truly and finally move beyond the Cold War. Today, after my third meeting with Vladimir Putin in five months, and after the events of the last five weeks, we can report progress toward that goal — positive progress.
Within hours after September 11th attacks, President Putin called. He extended his sympathy and he extended his support. He did something more. He knew that the American military was moving to high alert status. To simplify our situation, to show solidarity, he ordered Russia's military to stop a set of exercises that were getting underway. America, and I in particular, will remember this act of friendship in a time of need.
Today the world is building a broad international coalition against terrorism, and Russia is taking a full and responsible role in the coalition. Russia is sharing valuable intelligence on terrorist organizations, providing overflight clearance for humanitarian missions, and helping out diplomatically.
It is clear that President Putin understands the magnitude of the terrorist threat. It is clear there's a lot the United States and Russia can do together to defeat terrorism. The challenges and goals we share provide an opportunity to rethink and renew a broader relationship.
Both our nations are working to prevent proliferation and to reduce the threat from Cold War weapon stockpiles throughout the former Soviet Union.
We also see progress in our efforts to build a new strategic framework. Today we discussed significantly lowering offensive nuclear weapon arsenals, within a framework that includes limited defenses, defenses that are able to protect both our lands from political blackmail, from potential terrorist attack. Both our nations must be able to defend ourselves against the new threats of the 21st century, including long-range ballistic missiles.
The events of September the 11th make it clearer than ever that a Cold War ABM treaty that prevents us from defending our people is outdated, and I believe dangerous. Economic cooperation and progress will be an important part of our new relationship.
With the right incentives and a firm commitment to rule of law, there is no question in my mind a new class of entrepreneurs can grow and flourish in Russia. And there's no question in my mind that American businesses and American investment can foster that trend. Both President Putin and I are anxious to see this happen.
And our new relationship is one of candor. I emphasized to Vladimir Putin that the war on terror is not, and cannot be, a war on minorities. It's important to distinguish between those who pursue legitimate political aspirations and terrorists.
We're also looking at ways we can work together in the development of a free media in Russia. We had a good and serious exchange. Both of us see great opportunity. Both of us see positive good that has come out of the evil of September the 11th. Both of us are willing to work hard to seize the moment, to make sure we foster a new and unique and constructive relationship between our two great lands.
Question: Sir, your communique did not mention the war in Afghanistan, and several leaders at this meeting have urged America to end the conflict quickly. What do you intend to do to cure this queasiness about your military initiative?
And to President Putin, do you agree with President Bush that the ABM, post-September 11th, is dangerous to the world? And, if so, are you more open to modifying it or scrapping it?
President Bush: I think I listened to probably three or four hours of discussions about our campaign against terrorism. And there was a very strong support for our activities — strong support for sharing intelligence, strong support for the diplomatic front we're waging, strong support to disrupt the financial operations of the terrorists, and strong support for our military operations in Afghanistan.
The people who came to this conference came because they wanted to show the world that they were not afraid of terrorists. They weren't going to let terrorists disrupt an important meeting. They also came to stand with solidarity with the United States. And I'm most appreciative of the support we received. It was strong, it was steady, and it's real. And the people of the United States need to know that we're not conducting these operations alone. We've got universal support around the world.
President Putin: I would like to say a couple of words on the first question. First, I fully agree with the position of President Bush and I think that his actions have been balanced and proportionate to the threat that the United States faced. Second, and it is important that everybody realises this, if we have started the fight against terror, it must be carried to the end. Otherwise terrorists will get the impression that they are invulnerable. And then their actions will become even more dangerous, more brazen and still more devastating. Now as regards the 1972 ABM Treaty. I can merely reiterate our position, which is widely known. We believe that it is an important element of stability in the world. But we agree – as I have said more than once – that we must think about the future and adequately respond to possible future threats. We are ready to discuss this with our American partners provided we are presented with the initial parameters of the discussion.
Question: I have a question to the American President. Recently you talked much that U.S.-Russia relations gained a new strategic nature. And you even called Vladimir Putin your friend. Could you give specific examples of the changes in political, military and especially economic sphere?
President Bush: Well, I think the first sign of our new relationship is that he knows I don't view Russia as an enemy, that we're not a threat to Russia. And I know that he's not going to threaten the United States. That's a different attitude from the old days.
The old days we used to distrust each other. The old days, the discussions were not very frank and candid. They were probably bureaucratic in nature. And we have a very frank and open relationship, because we're not a threat. As a matter of fact, we're looking for ways to form alliances and to find common ground. We actively seek ways to fight terrorism.
Vladimir Putin was the first person to call — that's what a friend does, calls in a time of need, and he called. It's clear to me that he understands that we're developing a new relationship. After all, in the old days, had an American President put their troops on alert, Russia would have responded. And then America would have upped the ante. And then Russia would have upped the ante and we would have had two issues on our hands — one, a terrorist attack on America, plus a military standoff.
Instead, his first reaction was to stand down, so as not to create any confusion, any doubt, so that the United States could stay focused on the terrorist attack. To me, that signals a brand new attitude, a different point of view — someone who doesn't fear America, but someone who wants to find ways to work with America. And so it's an attitude change, for starters.
Secondly, I look forward to working with him on a new strategic framework. I also look forward to working with him on ways to encourage the flow of capital from the United States into Russia. Russia is a land of vast natural resources. It's also a land of a different kind of resource, and that's brain power. Russia has got a lot of entrepreneurial talent. And I'm confident that the United States and our entrepreneurs and Russian entrepreneurs will find ways to work together. So we've got a lot in common.
But the thing that really bound us together most right now is our common desire to fight terrorism. And he understands what I understand, that the new wars of the 21st century will be fought fighting evildoers, people that have no country, people that may try to take a country, parasites that may try to leech onto a host country. But that's the true threat, and the true threat for both our governments. And we'll work together to fight terrorism. And he is an active participant in the coalition and I'm grateful for his support and advice.
Question: Did you tell Mr. Putin that you would begin the process of withdrawing from the ABM Treaty by the end of the year? And did you give him a figure on missile cuts?
President Bush: Let's see — no, to the second. Let me be a little more expansive. I told Mr. Putin that we are in the process of analyzing our nuclear arsenal, and that I intended to fulfill a campaign process, which was that we were going to reduce our nuclear arsenal to a level that would help maintain the peace, on the one hand; on the other hand, that would also represent the realities of the 21st century.
Secondly, I reiterated exactly what I told Vladimir in Slovenia — that I felt like the ABM Treaty was outmoded and outdated, and it was time for us to see if we couldn't work together to move beyond the ABM Treaty.
Well, we've got work to do between now and Crawford, and I look forward to continuing to work with him. Let me rephrase that — now and Washington/Crawford.
But he knows my feelings about the ABM Treaty, and so does America — actually, the world now I think fully understands it. It was a treaty written when our nations hated each other. We no longer hate each other. As a matter of fact, we're finding ways to cooperate. It's also a treaty that prevents peace-loving nations from developing systems necessary to hold terrorists who might acquire weapons of mass destruction to be delivered by ballistic missiles, won't be able to hold them accountable.
And we're in a new war, a new environment. And it seems wise to me to react to that environment in a positive way. We'll continue working with each other and see if we can't find common ground on the ABM Treaty.
Question: I have question to both Presidents. It attracts our attention that you are building a good understanding on key problems. Can you say with certainty that your teams will act in the same spirit?
President Bush: That's a very interesting question, and a man who understands bureaucracy. Well, I can assure you that the Secretary of State understands my point of view, and is working hard with his counterpart to achieve the common ground we seek. We have sent — as Vladimir mentioned, we sent our Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of Commerce and our Trade Representative to Russia to talk about ways to cooperate, talk about ways to enhance the flow of capital from the United States into Russia.
And so the answer to your question is, absolutely, that we will — that this attitude will be shared throughout our government. And it's a very good question you ask, because sometimes the intended top doesn't necessarily get translated throughout the levels of government. I'm confident, though, in this case, that it will happen. It's too important a relationship to allow bureaucratic intransigence to delay what I believe is going to be one of the more interesting relationships as we head into the 21st century.
I think it's necessary that United States and Russia cooperate. I think it's going to make the world more peaceful. I think it will lend a lot of stability in Europe, as well, when we find ways to cooperate.
President Putin: First, I would like to confirm what you have said about the quality of our relations. It is true that President Bush has said many warm words about me, he said them publicly and I am grateful to him for that. I am aware of his attitude outside the framework of official events. I hope he feels the same way when he communicates with me. By the way, it does not prevent us from having our own points of view and sticking up for them on the most serious issues, defending the national interests of our countries. Among other things, we have a continuing discussion on the ABM.
I agree with many of the President’s points, and one cannot but agree with them. We have a common platform on which we can talk, have discussions and offer solutions. But for instance it would be difficult for me to agree that some terrorists will be able to capture intercontinental missiles and will be able to use them. So we always have a subject for discussion, we constantly engage each other in a debate, and our good personal relations do not stand in the way. However, speaking about our teams, bureaucracy is always a threat. At the same time I would like you to note that we always select teams of like-minded people. And if a team does something differently from what we recognise as the right way of pursuing our relations then it is not a team, but a rag-tag band. I wouldn’t like to be surrounded by such people.