The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
TRANSCRIPTS
Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush Holds Press Conference on Iraq Negotiations with Russian President Putin

Aired September 27, 2003 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN ANCHOR: OK, as we mentioned, Presidents Bush and Vladimir Putin are expected to come out. They have been meeting at Camp David. They have a whole world of issues literally on their plate so far today. We know they are going to be talking about a post-war Iraq. President Bush, of course, at the U.N. earlier in the week. He is also trying to get Vladimir Putin to sign on to help in a post-war Iraq, either in reconstruction or providing staff there to work as well.
At the same time, they're also talking about Iran. There's no question Russia is in dire financial straits. They're, right now, looking at a lucrative $800 million contract to help build a nuclear power plant in the southern portion of Iran. That, of course, has the Bush administration concerned. They are worried about Iran possibly getting nuclear weapons. At the same time in Chechnya, Vladimir Putin is fighting what his considers his own war on terrorism, but the U.S. has voiced concerns in the past about human rights possible abuses.

Now, despite all the divisive issues that are facing these two world leaders, they also find a lot of common ground. There's no question they have a palpable, friendly relationship. Joining us with more -- to talk about this, Suzanne Malveaux, the White House correspondent for CNN.

Suzanne, what do we know? What do we expect to hear from these two leaders when they come out in a matter of minutes?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sean (ph), you know, the last time the two leaders got together, it was four months ago in St. Petersburg, and of course, what a difference four months makes. What we expect when it comes to Iraq, of course, President Bush trying to get some sort of support from Putin. We don't expect that Putin is going to talk about offering any type of money. As you know, Iraq owes quite a bit of money to Russia. Rather, Russia is looking for some investment opportunities and perhaps an exchange will go ahead and offer some personnel, whether it's advisers, these types of consultants that are on the ground.

Also, when it comes to that situation in Iran that you had mentioned, that nuclear technology deal that they have with Iran, we expect that the two leaders will probably come out and both say that they want a nuclear-free Iran when it comes to at least complying with international law, allowing those inspectors back inside of the country, also complying with the International Atomic Energy Agency to meet that late October deadline, to essentially come clean and account for its nuclear program, whether or not it's for energy or it's for weapons. We do not expect, however, for President Putin to give up that lucrative deal, as you have mentioned before, when it comes to Iran.

On Chechnya, we don't expect necessarily for the two leaders to speak about that publicly...

CALLEBS: Right.

MALVEAUX: ... as you know it's a very sensitive subject. And also, of course, the two leaders are going to be speaking about the other so-called axis of evil member, North Korea. And the Middle East road map, it is likely that the two of them will come forward and say that it is very important for that to be -- for that to move forward.

CALLEBS: Suzanne...

MALVEAUX: ... of the quartet.

CALLEBS: ... I don't want to interrupt you, but there we see the two leaders coming out and it is clear they have a friendship, a real Texas greeting when Vladimir Putin arrived, a slap on the back, a big handshake, and a hug. It is clear these two get along and that is very important in a post-September 11 world.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely. You may recall that it was President Putin who was the first world leader who called President Bush after the 9/11 attacks. That was very significant. Ever since then, President Putin has really been positioning himself as a major ally when it comes to the war on terror, despite their differences on the war itself, despite their differences on what they see as most important in a reconstruction effort.

CALLEBS: OK, let's join the two presidents.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... my friend, Vladimir Putin to Camp David. President Putin has visited the White House. He's visited our ranch in Crawford, and now he visits Camp David.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: I'm honored to have him here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: And I appreciate the great dialogue we've had last night and today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: And for decades, when the leaders of our two countries met, they talked mainly of missiles and warheads, because the only common ground we shared was the desire to avoid catastrophic conflict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: In recent years, the United States and Russia have made great progress in building a new relationship. Today, our relationship is broad and it is strong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: Russia and the United States are allies in the war on terror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: Both of our nations have suffered at the hands of terrorists, and both of our governments are taking actions to stop them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: No cause justifies terror. Terrorists must be opposed wherever they spread chaos and destruction, including Chechnya.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: A lasting solution of that conflict will require an end to terror, respect of human rights and a political sentiment that leads to free and fair elections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: President Putin and I talked about expanding our cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: The president and I agree that America, Russia and the entire world will benefit from the advance of stability and freedom in these nations, because free and stable nations do not breed ideologies of murder or threaten people of other lands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: I was encouraged that it is clear that our governments will continue to work together on this very important matter...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: ... the matter of freedom and peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: The president and I also discussed ways to broaden Russian and American military cooperation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN) BUSH: And we're determined to improve our joint ability to fight terror, to keep peace in troubled regions and to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: We strongly urged North Korea to completely, verifiably, and irreversibly end its nuclear programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: We strongly urge Iran to comply fully with all of its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: We're seeking to intensify our missile defense cooperation, because both of our countries are threatened by outlaw regimes, to be armed with deadly weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: We welcome the growing economic relationship between our two countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: We will continue to work together to expand cooperation of the energy sector.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: We recognize lower trade barriers. And mutual investment will benefit both our nations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: American and Russian officials are meeting more often and discussing a broad range of issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: Old suspicions are giving way to new understanding and respect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: Our goal is to bring the U.S./Russian relationship to a new level of partnership.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: I respect President Putin's vision for Russia...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN) BUSH: ... a country at peace within its borders, with its neighbors, and with the world, a country in which democracy and freedom, and rule of law thrive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: Because of the president's vision and his desires, I'm confident that we will have a strong relationship, which will improve the lives of our fellow citizens as well as help make the world more peaceful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: Mr. President, welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): Thank you very much. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to cordially thank the president of the United States of America, Mr. Bush, for his invitation.

Our host has created, beginning yesterday, a very relaxed and tranquil atmosphere, conducive to having a calm and open, very frank talk on the major problems and on the broader picture of relations between Russia and the United States. Our talks today have once again confirmed that our relations are based on a clear vision and a clear understanding of special responsibility of Russia and the United States for ensuring international security and strengthening strategic stability.

We have convinced -- we have proven once again that our partnership is not subject to political deal making. Despite all the difficulties that we have to overcome, this period and the basic principles of our relationship have remained the same -- mutual confidence, openness, predictability, and consideration and respect of interests of each other. We value very much the level of relationship that we have reached with the United States.

According to already established tradition, President Bush and I have focused on specific issues, and the fight against terrorism continues to be among priorities of our cooperation. I agree with the assessment that the president of the United States has just given. In this sphere, we act not only as strategic partners but as allies. Our agencies are conducting an open and a professional dialogue on the entire range of questions in this sphere, including attempts by terrorist organizations to commit new terrorist acts and to gain access to weapons of mass destruction.

We have also discussed today about the implementation of provisions of the treaty on strategic offensive reductions. After the ratification of the treaty, its implementation, in our assessment, is going successfully. We intend to take this work under our control in the future as well. Russia and the United States intend to pursue a close cooperation for strengthening international regimes and nonproliferation mechanisms. We discussed in detail the situation, Iran's -- nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. In our -- it is our conviction that we shall now give a clear but respectful signal to Iran about the necessity to continue and expand its cooperation with IAEA.

As to the North Korean nuclear problem, I believe that the primary -- the priority now is to unblock the conflict situation around the Korean Peninsula, to create a favorable climate, a favorable atmosphere for a constructive dialogue. And Russia believes that ensuring nuclear nonproliferation regime should be accompanied by extending to North Korea guarantees in this sphere of security. We intend to continue our joint work with the United States in resolving this issue.

I would like to stress separately the situation around Iraq. Our countries, just like the entire international community, have a common task, to ensure the speediest possible settlement and normalization of the situation in Iraq. We want to see Iraq a free Democratic and united state. We believe that in solving the very difficult problems that the people of Iraq are -- that the people of Iraq are facing today, an important role that shall be played by the provisional governing council of Iraq, along with the special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations.

We also talked about the situation in the Middle East, and we believe that there is no reasonable alternative to consistent implementation of the road map. Significant attention during the negotiation was paid to Russian/American cooperation in trade and economic sphere. I would like to remind you that in the first six months of 2003, the volume of Russian/American mutual trade has increased to more than -- by one-third. It's a good platform for future progress.

There is also good grounds for our future cooperation in energy sphere. We are also improving cooperation in the sphere of information and communication technologies and in the exploration of space.

And in conclusion, I would like to draw the primary result of our negotiation. We have succeeded in reaching substantial progress on the way of forming the relations of real and mutually respectful partnership between Russia and the United States. I would like to thank President Bush for his constructive approach and for his interest in the discussion of all the questions, of all of issues that we have touched upon. This was a very useful meeting.

BUSH: Thank you. We'll take a couple questions here, two per side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: Jennifer with the AP?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir. You mentioned that you talked about Iran. Did you receive any specific commitments from President Putin that Russia would stop selling nuclear technology to Iran? And to Mr. Putin, did you -- are you ready to make any commitments now to contribute either troops or resources in Iraq? And if not, what will help you to get there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: We share a goal, and that is to make sure Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon or nuclear weapons program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: We also understand that we need to work together to convince Iran to abandon any ambition she may have...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: ... ambitions toward the development of nuclear weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: What's important is we understand it's in our national interests that Iran doesn't develop a nuclear weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: So the most important thing that came out of these meetings was a reaffirmation of our desire to work together to convince Iran to abandon ambitions, as well as to work with other nations, so that there's a common voice on this issue. You heard the president say that the IAEA process must go forward. We firmly agree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

BUSH: I found this part of our discussions to be very satisfactory from the U.S. point-of-view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)

PUTIN (through translator): We indeed paid much attention to this issue. I would like to reiterate that Russia has no desire and no plans to contribute in any way to the creation of weapons of mass destruction, either in Iran or in any other spot, region in the world. I would like to reiterate that we comply firmly with the provisions of the Nonproliferation Treaty, because this course is in our national interest.

As to the joint work, we are ready to proceed.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.