President Bush: I always enjoy talking to my friend, Vladimir Putin. He's a strong leader who cares deeply about the people of his country and understands the issues that we face. We just had a long discussion about a variety of issues. And I had the opportunity to thank him for working together on important issues such as the United Nations Security Council resolution.
The vote today in the United Nations Security Council was a great victory for the Iraqi people. The International community showed that they stand side-by-side with the Iraqi people. The U.N. Security Council resolution supports the interim government, supports free elections and supports the multi-national force. America supports strongly the idea of a free society in the midst of hatred and intolerance. And I appreciate your help, Vladimir, on getting that Security Council resolution through today.
And it is my pleasure to continue to work with you as we make sure our relations are as close as they possibly can be.
Vladimir Putin: First of all, I would like to thank the President of the United States for inviting me to this lovely place. We did indeed have a very substantial discussion on practically the whole range of relations between the United States and the Russian Federation. I congratulated the U.S. President on the positive changes underway in the U.S. economy. This upturn is his achievement and it is taking place despite the sharp increase in oil prices. We all have an interest in these positive developments because in the modern world in which we live today what happens in the American economy is of great significance for everyone, including for Russia.
I would like to note that our relations are developing in all areas, including in sensitive areas such as military cooperation. As for the adoption of the United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq, without any exaggeration this is a big step forward. I think all the countries represented on the Security Council would agree when I say that the dialogue taking place there has been particularly constructive over these last days. What we are talking about is not just the adoption of yet another Security Council resolution on Iraq, but a quality change in the situation in that country, a quality change in the presence of the armed forces there and also a positive change in the United Nation's influence on the situation there.
Of course, a lot of time will still pass between the resolution's adoption and real change in the situation in Iraq. But we can say with confidence that this is a serious document and it shows that the time is now ripe for taking such decisions. Prior to the resolution's adoption, the main responsibility lay with the United States, but now the Iraqi government itself will receive the full spectrum of sovereign rights and the international community will be able to have a lot more influence on developments in Iraq.
I would like to congratulate the President of the United States on this occasion and express the hope that the situation in Iraq will change and will take a turn for the better.