President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues and friends.
I am very pleased to see that the idea of creating a working group, “Russia – USA: Looking at the Future”, has become reality, and has become reality so quickly, what’s more. The issues you have discussed – I looked at this separately – are also significant and constitute a geopolitical review focusing on relations between Russia and the United States, the world economy, non-proliferation, the energy sector, the future outlook, and common interests between Russia and the U.S. These are all very important issues and they all have a global dimension and are matters of principle. Practically all of these issues are of great interest for the entire international community and, of course, for our countries too.
President Bush and I always give these issues our most serious attention at our meetings, even at meetings at which we discuss specific, seemingly tactical matters. But in one way or another we always touch on the issues that you have discussed at your meeting. This was also the case at our latest meeting in Maine, where we met at the home of the 41st U.S. President, Mr Bush’s father, and where we had what was indeed a very good, productive and substantial discussion with precisely this issue of the future of Russian-American relations in mind.
This approach, this kind of global approach that looks to the future is very much needed in my view. We cannot afford to let Russian-American relations depend on the political needs of the moment in our countries, whether in the United States or in Russia. We cannot afford to let our relations serve short-term needs, needs connected, for example, to the election period in Russia and the United States.
If we are to keep the interests of global security and the interests of our peoples in mind, we must take a different approach. What kind of different approach should this be? We must ensure that in both Russia and the United States the attitude towards Russian-American contacts and relations at all levels and in all areas reaches a level of national consensus such that the overwhelming majority of people in our countries realise how important these relations are not just in bilateral terms, but how important they are for resolving global issues too.
As I see it, it is precisely in order to reach this objective that you have set up this working group and that you come together and give up your time. I very much hope that the proposals that emerge from your discussions will not end up gathering dust on foreign ministry shelves but will be viewed as material that can be used for developing practical policy.
I wish you welcome once again and I wish you every success in your work.