Joint Press Conference with President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Excerpts)

September 16, 2005

Related Country: 

  • Russia

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all. Please be seated. I'm pleased to welcome my friend, Vladimir Putin, back to the White House. We just had a constructive meeting and a candid conversation. I told the President how much I enjoyed visiting Russia earlier this year, and how much I'm looking forward to going back to Russia for the G8.

. . .

And I appreciate you very much, and your understanding of this war on terror. We also understand that we've got to work to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. We understand the stakes that people who kill in cold blood, if they have weapons of mass destruction, will kill in cold blood on a massive scale. And I want to appreciate you for your understanding, and thank you for your understanding of that.

We both signed the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which was a positive statement by the world. We discussed our efforts to work together in Iran and North Korea. We both -- we have the same goal: We don't want the Iranians to have nuclear weapons and we don't want the North Koreans to have nuclear weapons. We talked about ways to achieve those goals.

We talked about the need to improve nuclear security. This year we reached a milestone in nonproliferation cooperation by completing the conversion of 10,000 Russian nuclear warheads into peaceful fuel for U.S. power reactors. And I appreciate very much that sense of cooperation. That's good for the world to see.

. . .

PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As translated.) Thank you very much. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, first and foremost, I'd like to thank the President for the invitation to visit the White House. And at the outset, allow me to relate the words of most sincere compassion and support to the American people with regards to the strikes of Mother Nature that's Katrine Hurricane, which caused the death of many human lives, and caused serious destruction. Believe us, we are sincerely and genuinely having the feeling of compassion with that tragedy, with you.

. . .

Significant attention was paid to the subject of nonproliferation, and here we have discussed the North Korean problem and the Iranian nuclear dossier. And I must say that our positions are very close with the American partners here. We will continue to coordinate our work. On our part, I'd like to point out, that the potential of diplomatic solutions to all these questions is far from being exhausted, and we'll undertake all the steps necessary to settle all these problems and issues, not to aggravate them, not to bring them to extremalities.

. . .

Q Last night you said that greater federal involvement and troops may be required in future disasters. Could you elaborate on that a little bit? And were you able to convince President Putin on the need to send Iran to the Security Council? Sorry to do a two-part.

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, that's -- hit me with a two-part question.

First, on Iran, we agree that the Iranians should not have a nuclear weapon. That's important for people to understand. When you share the same goal, it means, as you work diplomatically, you're working toward that goal.

Secondly, I am confident that the world will see to it that Iran goes to the U.N. Security Council if it does not live up to its agreements. And when that referral will happen is a matter of diplomacy. And that's what we talked about. We talked about how to deal with this situation diplomatically.

. . .

PRESIDENT PUTIN: With regards to the Iranian subject, I might as well say that the our position is very clear and understandable. We support all of the agreements on non-proliferation, which includes Iran and others, fully, and we've always, in this regard, been open with our partners, transparent completely. And yesterday in the meeting with the President of Iran, we directly told him so. And, of course, we are against the fact that Iran would become a nuclear power, and we'll continue to do so in future, under any circumstances.

Now, as regards as to how we can control the situation, there are many ways and means to do so. We wouldn't like our -- steps could bring us to a situation similar to that one in the Korean Peninsula. We're in touch with all the partners in the process with the European-3, with the U.S. We have understanding of what we need to do, and I hope that our activities will be coordinated and will bring positive results.

Once again, yesterday I heard from the Iranian leader a statement that Iran does not seek to acquire nuclear weapons. That's the first thing I wanted to share with you.

. . .