Russian President Vladimir Putin: Distinguished colleagues, I am very glad to see you again in Moscow.
We met in similar circumstances exactly six months ago. And, as far I as I was concerned, our exchange was very productive. As I said, six months have gone by since that encounter. And it seems to me that under some problems we could have already drawn a line.
As you know, I have very recently had an opportunity to talk to the President of the United States; I received his message too — want to send him my best wishes. It is a serious document and we are scrutinizing it carefully. And if we really do succeed in working out an agreement on the basis of its provisions, we can conclude that our dialogue is developing very productively.
There are still a lot of problems to be discussed. We are very pleased that the dialogue in this “two plus two” format is the one that we will use for our joint work. Welcome.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice: Thank you, Mr President, thank you for having agreed to meet with us. Please allow us to extend to you President Bush’s best wishes.
We are looking forward to our discussion with you and your colleagues today and tomorrow, and we want to establish strong relations in order to further promote Russian-American relations.
In fact, we have already come to an understanding on a number of issues. We would like to expand our cooperation. And, of course, given the intricacy of US-Russian relations, in all their complexity, there are some issues on which we do not yet have full agreement. I would like to overcome these differences and work in order to reach an agreement on them.
We believe that the ”two plus two“ format is very important and we want to thank you for having personally set aside time to meet with us.
We have come to Moscow, violating the customary alternating order of visits, in the hope that we will be able to move on a number of issues, those on which we have not yet reached agreement, and want to strengthen our agreement in those areas where we already have it.
Vladimir Putin: The most important thing here is not protocol but the substance of our exchanges. We can only welcome the fact that you have made an extra journey to Moscow. You were willing to come, and we are delighted to have you here.