President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Gentlemen!
I am happy for the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the topic, which is without a doubt very important for both our country and the United States of America – our bilateral relations. And I think that it is very good that today these issues are being addressed not only by government officials and those who are in positions of authority, but also by those who have a good understanding of international relations and have extensive experience.
Overall, I can say that unfortunately, in recent years, our relations have deteriorated significantly. This worries us. I feel that we have all the opportunities to turn a new page in Russian-American relations. The signals that we are receiving today from the United States – I mean, first and foremost, the signals that I am receiving from President Obama – seem quite positive to me.
We have a very wide-ranging agenda. Many factors are dependent on the way that our relations develop: this includes the problem of worldwide non-proliferation of the main kinds of weapons, the fight against terrorism, and economic development. We are facing a global crisis, and this is the issue that will bring us together in London (the summit will be held on April 2, and on April 1, I hope that the President of the United States and I will be able to meet and discuss all these issues), along with many other issues that are very relevant today and which will always be on the agenda in Russian-American relations. So I am interested in talking with you.
I have looked at the report prepared by the Commission. I think that it includes some very interesting ideas and conclusions. In any case, I share many of the positions stated there.
Co-chairman of the Commission On United States Policy Toward Russia Gary Hart: Mr President!
Thank you very much for your time, we are honoured to meet with you and Foreign Minister Lavrov, and your colleagues. 3 months ago, the people at this table and a greater number who joined us decided we would do what we could to improve US-Russian relations. What brought us together was the feeling that the relationship between our two countries was not in the interest of the United States and that a closer partnership between our two countries was at least as important to us as it is to you.
So, you have the background of those of us here, I won’t go into the details of introducing us. But all of us together, some two or three dozen people, represent many, many years of public service and involvement in international relations, and national and international security affairs. We hope to build a base in our country that will give support to the new administration in its efforts to improve that relationship. We heard from our Ambassador a minute ago about the success of the meeting between Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov. We think that's both in conformity with the recommendations we make in this report but also a great step forward in improving those relationships.
We have about a dozen and a half recommendations which you can see. They are involved with arms control, arms reduction, and counter-proliferation, expanded definition of security, mutual and international security, stability of energy supplies, and of course, counterterrorism, among other things. We hope you will have a chance to look at these recommendations. We will present them publicly in Washington on Monday in a formal announcement, and we have made them available to senior figures in the Obama administration. So we’re hopeful that we, together as Americans, will provide a base of support for the effort that your Government and ours are beginning to make.