For Immediate Release
President Bush, President Putin Discuss NATO, Iraq
Office of the Press Secretary
November 22, 2002
Remarks by President Bush and Russian President Putin in Photo Opportunity
St. Petersburg, Russia
NATO Summit Trip
5:55 P.M. (L)
PRESIDENT PUTIN: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. In your
presence may I once again cordially welcome the President of the United
States and his team to Russia.
We are very pleased that Mr. President accepted our invitation.
And let me say that our conversations -- and this is exactly the way
I'd like to quote this meeting -- our conversation on long-range of our
bilateral issues and our cooperation in the international arena have
been very productive and very, very frank.
And we discussed practically everything between the sky and the
earth. We discussed our cooperation in the energy sector, our energy
dialogue. We discussed our cooperation in the high technology sector.
We also (inaudible) on the problem of NATO expansion and the
development of relations between Russia and NATO. And, of course, we
also addressed the problem of terrorism. And of course we also
discussed the prospects for our cooperation on the matters of strategic
I think that Mr. President will agree with me -- and he'll have an
opportunity to say what he thinks on this -- but I think he'll agree
with me that our meeting in this point a very frank meeting, without
prepared statements has been very productive and has been very
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, it has. I consider Vladimir Putin one of my
Are you going to translate. (Laughter.)
Like other good friends I've had throughout my life, we don't agree
100 percent of the time. But we always agree to discuss things in a
frank and -- in a frank way.
Every time I come to St. Petersburg, he keeps showing me more and
more beautiful rooms. So I'm coming back next May. I always enjoy our
I have just come from NATO. My visit with Vladimir was my first
stop after Prague. The mood of the NATO countries is this: Russia is
our friend; we've got a lot of interests together; we must continue our
cooperation in the war on terror; and the expansion of NATO should be
welcomed by the Russian people. After all, there are new nations on
our border that are members of -- nations that are new members of NATO,
but nations pledged to peace, and pledged to freedom.
But the President was right, we had a -- we discussed a lot of
issues. And I would define our bilateral relations as very good.
We might answer a couple of questions.
Q This is a question to both Presidents.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Okay, fine; fire away.
Q (Speaking Russian.)
PRESIDENT PUTIN: As regards partnership, it is on a very high
level. And it is very pleasant for me to note that we not only have
lost nothing of what has been generated, has been produced by the
previous generations of politicians -- but we keep going on further, we
keep achieving new results and we are moving ahead very expeditiously
and very productively.
And I'd like to stress -- and this is a very important point --
that that interests of Russia and the United States coincide well in
many economic fields. But they are also identical in many strategic
As regards our relations with NATO, let me say the following. As
regards the expansion, you know our position well. We do not believe
that this has been necessitated by the existing pact, but we take note
of the position taken by the President of the United States and we hope
to have positive development of our relations with all NATO countries.
As regards our relationship with the alliance as a whole, as the
alliance keeps transforming -- and this is something that Mr. President
talked about recently -- we do not rule out the possibility of
deepening our relations with the alliance. Of course, in the case if
the activities of the alliance are in accord with Russia's national
security interests. At least within the Group of 20, we are
interacting, are cooperating in a very well way, in a very good way.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, the Russian NATO Council is very important.
But the strategy of NATO is going to be based upon the fact that the
Cold War is over; Russia is a friend; Russia is not an enemy. And I
told the President as I was leaving, the NATO summit, a lot of leaders
came up and asked me to send their personal regards to them.
And in terms of our bilateral relations, we'll continue to work to
make them as strong as they can possibly be, and there's a lot of areas
-- in trade, in commerce, in energy -- that we're working together to
I think it's only fair we ask one American. Jim.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. The public now knows that the
U.S. has in its custody a terrorist who has the blood of many
Americans on his hands, Mr. Al Nashiri. How significant is his
And since we see President Putin so rarely, Mr. President, I hope
you won't object if I ask President Putin a question, as well. And
that is, sir, has the U.S. asked you to participate or contribute to
any military action in Iraq if it becomes necessary, and what is your
view on that?
PRESIDENT BUSH: A couple of points. First, I want to thank
Vladimir and his foreign policy team for working together to pass a
strong resolution out the United Nations on Iraq.
Secondly, we did bring to justice a killer. And the message is
we're making war on the -- we're making progress on the war against
terrorists, that we're going to hunt them down one at a time, that it
doesn't matter where they hide. As we work with our friends, we will
find them and bring them to justice. And America and Russia and people
who love freedom are one person safer as a result of us finding this
PRESIDENT PUTIN: I'm very pleased to see the mood the President of
the United States is in. It is what we need. Let me assure you that
we will work together and our work will be effective.
Now there is something I would like to draw your attention to. And
we ultimately discussed this matter with our U.S. colleagues. We
should not give a chance to anyone who is either engaged in terror or
who is supporting terror.
As I understood the second part of your question, concern was --
has to do with Iraq. We should not forget about those who finance
terrorism. Of the 19 terrorists who committed the main attacks on
September 11th against the United States, 16 are citizens of Saudi
Arabia, and we should not forget about that.
Now, where has Osama bin Laden taken refuge? They say that
somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We know what Mr. Musharraf
is doing to achieve stability in his country and we are supporting
him. But what can happen with armies armed with weapons that exist in
Pakistan, including weapons of mass destruction, we are not sure on
that aspect and we should not forget about that. And we agree with the
President of the United States and his colleagues who say that we have
to make sure that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction in its
Diplomats have carried out a very difficult, a very complex work.
And we do believe that we have to stay within the framework of the work
being carried out by the Security Council of the United Nations. And
we do believe that together with the United States we can achieve a
positive result. As you know, our recent past gives us -- we have a
example of that kind; and the level achieved in our bilateral relations
between Russia and the United States gives us hope that we can achieve
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, all. We've got a plane to catch; don't
keep us waiting. Thank you, all. Thank you very much.
END 6:10 P.M. (L)