President of The United States Barack Obama: I just had an excellent meeting once again with President Medvedev. We discussed two primary topics — one is our efforts to conclude a deal on the START treaty.
As many of you know, in our first meeting when I traveled to Moscow, we arrived at an understanding that it made sense for our two countries to begin reducing further our nuclear stockpiles. Our negotiators have made excellent progress over the last several months. Our goal continues to be to complete the negotiations and to be able to sign a deal before the end of the year. And I'm confident that if we work hard and with a sense of urgency about it that we should be able to get that done. And I very much feel as if both sides are trying to work through some difficult technical issues but are doing so in good faith.
And so I thank President Medvedev for his initiative and leadership on that issue.
The second issue that we discussed was the issue of Iran. Again, in my first meeting with President Medvedev I emphasized to him our desire to try to resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear capacity in a constructive fashion, and it was my strong belief that if countries like the United States and Russia were able to present two paths, two roads to the Islamic Republic of Iran, one that led to further integration, the ability to obtain peaceful nuclear energy, but a insistence on Iran forsaking nuclear weapons, that that would be the most positive outcome.
The alternative would be an approach that would involve increasing pressure on Iran to meet its international obligations. These concerns were further heightened with the Qom facility that had not been properly disclosed, and since that time we have continued to consult closely with the Russians in terms of providing Iran a very concrete, specific, and fair proposal for some confidence-building measures including a proposal to get low-enriched uranium out of Iran, processed, and then sent back to Iran — to display their ability essentially to have peaceful nuclear energy without weaponization capacity.
Unfortunately, so far at least Iran appears to have been unable to say yes to what everyone acknowledges is a creative and constructive approach. And that's not just the U.S. position, that's been the position of the IAEA and the Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.
We are now running out of time with respect to that approach. And so I discussed with President Medvedev the fact that we have to continue to maintain urgency and that our previous discussions confirming the need for a dual-track approach are still the right approach to take. And we believe that the United States and Russia will continue to urge Iran to take the path that leads them to meeting its international obligations. We can't count on that, and we will begin to discuss and prepare for these other pathways.
The last thing I just want to mention is that we discussed some other issues, both economic and security-related issues, including Afghanistan. And I have found, as always, President Medvedev frank, thoughtful, and constructive in his approach to U.S.-Russia relations. And I am somebody who genuinely believes that the reset button has worked and that we are moving in a good direction.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I want to say that we spent this hour in the constructive and trusting atmosphere that characterises our relations with President Obama.
We reviewed several different issues which were all named just now. We did indeed devote a considerable amount of time to discussing the future treaty on strategic arms reductions. We agreed to add impetus to these talks and resolve all of the outstanding matters, a number of which are technical points, and a number of which are subjects requiring political decisions. But it is precisely for such cases that we hold these kinds of presidential-level talks. We will instruct our aides to work on these matters.
I hope that, as we agreed at our first meeting in London, and at our subsequent meetings too, we will have a final draft of the treaty ready in December. This will be our joint contribution to strengthening international security because the overall climate in the area of strategic nuclear weapons and strategic delivery systems reductions depends precisely on this issue and on the positions taken by Russia and the United States. The world is watching us. In past years too, much depended on our ability to listen to each other, and this is all the more important now when we are no longer divided by the old ideological barriers but on the contrary are working to resolve the tasks placed upon us in as friendly and constructive a manner as possible.
Iran was another of the issues that we discussed with President Obama. We have participated in a whole series of recent joint consultations. Some progress has been made. I think that our joint efforts have kept things moving and prevented the situation from becoming an insurmountable obstacle. On the contrary, the process is moving forward, but it is true that we are not entirely happy with the pace and scope of this process. We expect that by working together with Iran we will succeed in concluding the agreements discussed earlier, and we hope that Iran will pursue a peaceful nuclear programme that will not raise all the questions that our countries and the international community have today. But more effort will be needed to reach this point.
At the same time, as politicians acting, I hope, on the basis of common sense, we realise that no process can go on forever. Negotiations exist not for the sake of enjoying the process itself, but in order to reach practical objectives. The objective in this particular case is clear – a transparent modern peaceful nuclear programme, and not a programme that raises concerns among the international community. We will continue striving towards this aim, and I hope that our combined efforts will produce results. If the results are not forthcoming we still have at our disposal the various instruments mentioned earlier in order to move the process forward by other means.
We discussed other subjects too. Fortunately, our relations are not limited to strategic arms reductions and problem situations. We discussed economic matters and spoke about the steps we can take to bring peace to long-suffering Afghanistan and help it establish a modern state able to resolve the various challenges it faces today. We are ready to work together on this.
I want to thank my colleague, Barack Obama, for the fact that once again, as at our past meetings, we were able to discuss all of these different issues in such a friendly atmosphere and find good responses to the problems facing our countries and the entire world. Thank you, Barack, for today’s work.