President of The United States Barack Obama: Well, first of all, I want to welcome President Medvedev to the United States and New York. As you all know, I had the great pleasure of visiting him in Moscow, and he extended extraordinary hospitality to both myself and my family. More importantly, we got a lot of work done that I think will be bearing fruit in the months and years to come.
And I have to say publicly how much I appreciate the excellent working relationship that President Medvedev and I have been able to develop during our meetings, not only bilaterally but also at the various summits that we've attended.
We've had an excellent discussion that touched on a number of areas that our teams have been working on together over the last several months. In particular, we discussed the progress that's being made on the START treaty. And both of us are confident that we can meet our self-imposed deadline to get an agreement that substantially reduces our nuclear missiles and launchers by the end of the year.
So we spent the bulk of our time talking about Iran. As I said in my speech today, the United States is committed to a strong non-proliferation regime. And we are committed to upholding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that strikes a bargain with all countries. That bargain says that countries are able to pursue peaceful nuclear technology; that they commit not to pursuing nuclear weapons; and those nations that have nuclear weapons make commitments to start reducing their stockpiles.
As the two major nuclear superpowers, we have made a commitment that we will reduce our nuclear stockpiles and move forward on our part of the bargain. And many other countries are abiding by the international commitments and norms that have been established by the NPT.
Unfortunately, Iran has been violating too many of its international commitments. So what we've discussed is how we can move in a positive direction that resolves a potential crisis, not just in the Middle East but that can cause enormous problems to the non-proliferation regime worldwide.
I believe that Russia and the United States share the strategic objective that Iran can pursue peaceful energy sources but that it should not pursue nuclear weapons. I believe we also share the view that this should be resolved diplomatically, and I am on record as being committed to negotiating with Iran in a serious fashion to resolve this issue.
Russia, as a major leader, I think believes that such an approach is possible, as well. But I think we also both agree that if Iran does not respond to serious negotiations and resolve this issue in a way that assures the international community that it's meeting its commitments, and is not developing nuclear weapons, then we will have to take additional actions and that sanctions, serious additional sanctions, remain a possibility.
We have an opportunity for a P5-plus-1 meeting with Iran in October. I hope that Iran seizes the opportunity to follow the path that both the United States and Russia would prefer in making a decision to live up to its international commitments, abandon nuclear weapons, and to fully join the international community in a way that I think will ultimately enhance the peace of the region and the prosperity of the Iranian people.
And once again, I just want to personally thank President Medvedev, but also the Russian people, for the leadership that they're showing on the world stage. I'm confident that when the United States and Russia work on critical issues like nuclear non-proliferation, that the world rallies behind us and that we will be able to bring about the kind of international peace and security that I think we all want.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I'll try to make my comments briefer because, unlike my colleague, President Barack Obama, I still have to deliver my address to the United Nations.
I completely agree that we have had some very positive changes in our relations recently, and that we now have very constructive and friendly working relations that allow us to tackle a variety of issues that stand before our nations. This is very important for our countries, our peoples, and the entire world.
Today we discussed a range of issues, which were just listed by Mr President. I would like to note that we do this regularly, which is actually very useful. We meet in person about every three months and we regularly speak on the phone. So for us, these working contacts are not something exotic, but indeed, are manifestations of our working relations.
Today we discussed the issue of a new START treaty. We are satisfied with the current pace of work. Our progress so far leads us to hope that our teams will be able to handle the goals we have set, and that we will have a new document within the timetable we agreed upon, which is most essential.
We discussed the issue of antimissile defence. I told my colleague, Barack Obama, that we find the decision made by his administration to be very reasonable. It reflects the current administration’s point of view on antimissile defence and, at the same time, takes into consideration our concerns about how the antimissile defence system should be arranged both in Europe and globally. We are ready to continue our efforts in this direction jointly with our American and European colleagues.
We discussed many other issues, and devoted a lot of time to the Iran nuclear problem, as Mr President just mentioned. Our task is to create a system of incentives that would allow Iran to achieve the goal of peaceful use of nuclear energy, but which would not allow for the creation of nuclear weapons. Thus, as responsible members of the international community and two major nuclear superpowers, we must send the right signals in that regard.
I told the President of the United States that we think it necessary to help Iran make the right decision. As for various types of sanctions, Russia’s position is very simple, and I spoke about it recently. Sanctions rarely lead to productive results, but in some cases, the use of sanctions is inevitable.
Ultimately, this is a matter of choice, and we are prepared to continue cooperating with the US administration on issues relating to Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme as well as other matters.
What’s most important is that we have once again learned to listen to one another, which is extremely important for the future relations of our nations and future relations between our peoples.
Thus, I would like to thank Barack Obama for his cooperation on these matters.