President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Ambassador,
I am very pleased to see you. Your time as the United States’ ambassador to the Russian Federation is drawing to a close.
First of all, I must say that the period during which you have worked here in Russia has not been the easiest time. We have had our share of problems, but what has always been most important – and this is something I want to thank you for – is that we have never lost the desire to look for mutually acceptable solutions and compromises. I would like to thank you for your very constructive work and for the businesslike and well-intentioned approach you have taken to resolving even the most complex issues.
Second, I want to say that, despite the differences and problems that exist, and there are quite a few of them, there is something more important between us, and that is common ground when it comes to key issues such as non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and a number of global security issues. As far as our bilateral relations go, our economic ties are showing good development. In this area too issues arise that call for our particular attention, and sometimes we even argue over these problems, but I think that when it comes to economic matters this is quite normal. It is important only that in this area, as in other areas, we remain ready to look for mutually acceptable solutions.
Overall, I want to thank you for these years of work together, and I say work together because the way you have formulated your vision of the relations between our countries has also had, I hope, a big part to play. We see that you have a positive attitude, and your solid past experience has also contributed to the positive results of your work in Moscow. Thank you very much.
U.S. Ambassador To Russia William Burns: Thank you, Mr President, Mr Minister.
I am very grateful for this meeting. It is a great honour for me to serve my country as American ambassador to Russia. I really have been very fortunate. Despite the fact that problems and differences arise from time to time between our countries, I am firmly convinced that we only stand to gain by working together, and I think it would be a great mistake to lose sight of this. The fact of the matter is that our cooperation is very important not only for our two countries but for the entire world. Once again, thank you very much for this meeting.