President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear colleagues, esteemed Mr Secretary of State,
It gives me great pleasure to see you again and to have this opportunity to exchange views on bilateral and international questions.
We have seen positive developments in our bilateral relations since our talks at Camp David. At any rate, what we noted then as the priority steps to take, and the list of issues that President Bush and I considered of primary importance, are now receiving constant attention from our specialists and we are working towards fulfilling the plans we mapped out.
We are also making progress in the area of strategic stability and on cooperation in such sensitive areas as space. Talking of which, my colleagues and I would like to congratulate you on your successes in studying Mars. It was with interest that we learned about President Bush’s ambitious plans to explore Mars. I think that there is plenty we could work on together in this area.
Our trade and economic ties are also developing quite well. We are intensifying our cooperation on the fight against terrorism. We have been working together quite closely in Afghanistan. Discussion continues on regulating the situation in Iraq. Like you, we think that the United Nations should return to Iraq. As you know, talks took place in Moscow with the head of the Interim Governing Council of Iraq. We think that this meeting in itself was a sign of our moral and political support for the Interim Council. We are discussing the question of writing off Iraq’s debts and we have agreed that this discussion will take place within the framework of the Paris Club.
Overall, I must say that we in Russia consider the development of Russian-American relations to be a considerable achievement reached through both the efforts of Russian foreign policy and through the steps the Bush administration has taken over recent years.
So we are happy to see you here and we are sure that this visit will be useful.
Colin Powell: Thank you very much, Mr President,
George Bush also sends you his best wishes and shares your view that our relations have made considerable progress over the last three years. The President is also very interested in the control list that was drawn up at Camp David. We discussed this list with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov at our meeting today. As you noted, our cooperation is going well in a good number of areas, including on Iraq and Afghanistan. We had a good discussion today on Georgia and Moldova. I am also pleased to see all the potential opportunities we have for cooperation in space exploration. We are also satisfied with how our strategic framework relations are taking shape, in particular the Moscow Treaty, and Minister Ivanov and I discussed today how to give a new impetus to this area.
The trade situation has improved considerably of late.
Overall, I would say that our relations are rich in content and that many changes are taking place. We have good bilateral relations. I would like to say that President Bush is happy with the way our relations are developing. And the strength of our relations enables us to discuss the issues on which we do have disagreements or differences of opinion in a frank and honest fashion.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Secretary of State.
I agree with your assessment. Russian-American relations are built on a solid foundation, and though we have some tactical differences regarding shaping international relations and protecting national interests, the foundation of our relations is solid enough to help us overcome such problems. We intend to continue acting in this spirit. I would like to assure you that Russian society shares precisely this view, and we know what the State Duma and the executive branch think. On this question, we are all unanimous in our opinion, and Russia’s policy in this area, that of its leadership, will be stable and predictable.