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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush, Putin Talk to Press

Aired November 22, 2002 - 11:10   ET

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

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush is also not in the United States, as you see here now. This is some fresh videotape that we've just gotten in to the CNN center. This is a photo opportunity that was made available to the press right after the meetings this morning between President Bush and President Putin.
Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We are very pleased that Mr. President accepted our invitation. And let me say that our conversations -- and this is exactly what I'd like to call this meeting -- our conversation on a whole range of 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. And we discussed our cooperation in the energy sector, our energy dialogue (ph). We discussed our cooperation in the high- technology sector. We also (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 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 stability.

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 frank, very frank meeting without prepared statements has been very productive and has been very fruitful.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, it has.

I consider Vladimir Putin one of my good friends. 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 conversations.

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.

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: OK, fine. Fire away.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

PUTIN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): As it requires 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 the interests of Russia and the United States coincide not only in many economic fields, but they are also identical in many strategic areas.

As regards our relations with NATO, let me say the following. As regards the expansion, we -- you know our position well.

We do not believe that this has been necessitated by the existing facts (ph). But we take note of the position taken by the president of the United States, and we hope to have a positive development of our relations with all NATO countries.

As regards our relationship with the alliance as a whole, that 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 or cooperating in a very well way -- a very good way.

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 him.

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 make progress.

I think it's only fair we ask one American.

Jim?

Jim is his name.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. The public now knows that the U.S. has in its custody a terrorist who has blood of many Americans on his hands (UNINTELLIGIBLE). How significant is his arrest?

And since we see President Putin so rarely, Mr. President, if -- 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 consider (ph) the use of military action in Iraq if it becomes necessary? And what is your view on that?

BUSH: Well, first, let me say that...

TRANSLATOR: Mr. President, would you mind...

BUSH: No, I'm sorry, yes, please. I beg your pardon. Go ahead. Do you remember the question?

TRANSLATOR: Yes, sir.

BUSH: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

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 of 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 guy.

PUTIN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I'm very pleased to see the mood the president of the United States is in. It is what we need, actually.

Let me assure you that we will work together and our work will be effective. Now, there is something I'd like to draw your attention to. And we openly discussed this matter with our U.S. colleagues. We should not give a chance to anyone who is either engaged in terror or is supporting terror.

As I understood, the second part of your question concerned -- has to do with Iraq. We should not forget about those who finance terrorism. Of the 19 terrorists who committed -- made attacks on September 11 against the United States, 16 are citizens of Saudi Arabia. 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 armaments, arms, 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 possession. Diplomats have carried out a very difficult -- the 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 with 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 such results.

BUSH: Thank you, all. We've got a plane to catch. You all keep us waiting. Thank you, all. Thank you very much. Thank you.

HARRIS: That is the end of that tape there, a tape -- coverage of President Bush and President Putin's meeting this morning.

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