#6 - JRL 7208
Putin briefs journalists on results of G8 summit
Source: RTR Russia TV, Moscow, in Russian 1000 gmt 3 Jun 03
At a press conference on the results of the G8 summit in Evian, Russian President Vladimir called the US one of Russia's leading partners and rejected the idea that the Bush administration was remaining aloof from world politics. He said the Iraq operation had been prompted by September 11, but that Russia did not see this as the best reaction. Moving on to Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran, he said Russia would continue this cooperation, but would like the IAEA to oversee Iran's nuclear projects. He announced that Russia would be spending 2bn dollars over the next 10 years on nonproliferation projects. He said that the summit had strengthened the international antiterrorist coalition. The following is the text of the report by Russia TV on 3 June. Subheadings have been inserted editorially:
[Yelena Vykhodtseva, Vesti presenter] The G8 summit has ended in Evian. Along with the final statement by French President Jacques Chirac, chairman of the summit, three declarations and eight plans of action were adopted. The meeting demonstrated the desire of its participants to resolve the problems the world community is facing through consultations and reaching mutual understanding with one's partners. The struggle against international terrorism and the strengthening of the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction remain priority tasks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at a final briefing about this and other results of the meeting in Evian.
[Putin, voice] Good day, esteemed ladies and gentlemen. Allow me to share with you my impressions of the results of the work done. Naturally, the first thing that I want to say and should say is to express words of gratitude to the summit, French president, Monsieur Chirac, for his hospitality and for what has been done to make our work possible.
The meeting in Evian showed yet again that the members of the G8 are united by long-term strategic interests. This made it possible for us to openly discuss any questions, including controversial questions and, in the final analysis, to come to mutually-acceptable solutions.
The broad-format discussion has become a new and very fruitful method in the practice of summit meetings. For many of our partners it is the first contact with the G8 and we welcome the start of so broad a dialogue.
Unity in fighting terror
As far as the specific results of the summit's work are concerned, I would, first and foremost, like to note the following: the meeting in Evian, I am sure of this, will make it possible to strengthen the international antiterrorist coalition. We understand that the success of the struggle against terror depends directly on our unity and on the effectiveness of our joint efforts. The G8 antiterrorist group, set up by the summit, is to become a serious instrument here. Its activities will be closely linked with the UN Security Council's counterterrorist committee, the main co-coordinator of the efforts of international community in this sphere.
I must say that Russia is minded actively to participate in the work of the new body. Moreover, it is perfectly logical here that the main attention on our part will be focused on the CIS area within the zone of the remit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Further, the G8 has adopted serious decisions in the field of the strengthening of the regimes for the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is particularly topical, in connection with the attempts by terrorist organizations to gain access to weapons of mass destruction. Nor must it be forgotten that the nonproliferation regimes play a key role in the maintenance of regional stability.
The main efforts should be directed towards the strengthening of legal regulations and mechanisms for their implementation.
We have also analysed and had a look at how the initiative for a global partnership against the proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction is being implemented.
Russia is making a substantial contribution to progress this programme. Over the next 10 years we plan to set aside and spend no less than 2bn dollars on these purposes. A special mechanism for the coordination of work on global partnership under the chairmanship of Russian prime minister has been created in our country. The necessary international legal basis has also been created. I have in mind here the agreement on the multilateral nuclear and ecological programme in the Russian Federation and also a number of bilateral agreements.
We welcome our partners' statement on the possibility of making means available to carry out projects envisaged at the Kananaskis meeting. We think that these statements ought to be underpinned by practical actions and, first and foremost, by the speediest possible coordination of projects on the priority directions of global partnership, the liquidation of chemical weapons, the scrapping of atomic submarines which are obsolete and which have been decommissioned.
Russia for the first time has taken a direct part in the preparation of the entire package of financial and economic documents of the meeting, something which I regard as yet another confirmation of the organic integration of Russia in the world structures, the world economy.
The plan of actions to develop scientific and technical cooperation is an innovative document. We regard -and hope - that such joining of investments, state-of-the-art technologies and management will make it possible to achieve a real breakthrough in the interests of the whole civilization.
Third World debt
The striving by our countries to facilitate the solution of the most acute problems of the Third World is of great significance. First and foremost this means battling against hunger and epidemics, regional ecological threats.
We also discussed the practical opportunities for cooperation in the struggle against dangerous and re-emerging illnesses. In this context Russia put forward an initiative to set up a global monitoring system.
Let me note that Russia is not only a recipient of various programmes, but that it is becoming an ever bigger sponsor and an ever-bigger source of financing to solve the most diverse problems which our civilization is having to face.
Let me recall - and I have already spoken about this - that over the past six years Russia had wiped off almost 35bn dollars which the world's least-developed countries were owing to it.
I wish once again to appraise highly the results of this summit, to thank our partners for the involved and constructive work and our French friends for their cordial reception, hospitality and simply brilliant organization.
[Presenter] Journalists also asked the Russian president how, in his view, the world's attitude to Russia was changing.
[Putin] The world's attitude to Russia has been changing for a long time now, in keeping with the changes in Russia itself. A great deal depends on ourselves. Incidentally, our host, President Chirac, spoke of this today. He mentioned it in passing but, nevertheless, he said something very important. He said that already several years ago Russia had announced its renunciation of the previous policy, the policy of the Soviet Union of putting pressure on its partners, of suppression of any sort or promotion of its own ideas by force, ideas that seemed correct to us. Russia completely changed its policy. Russia changed itself and this changes our partners' attitude towards us. This is the main thing. The main problem lies in ourselves.
As our country becomes more democratic, as our economy becomes stronger, as our social questions are resolved, we integrate ourselves more and more within the international community, becoming fully-fledged members of this community and this cannot but reflect itself on us ourselves and also on our partners' attitude to us. Indeed we played host to a whole number of major international meetings and these consolidated these tendencies.
USA not aloof
[Presenter] Vladimir Putin went into detail about Russian-US relations, calling the USA Russia's partner:
[Putin] I would not think that anyone, including a country like the USA, would want to remain aloof. And, knowing President Bush, I am sure that he would not want such a situation for his country.
Moreover, this will not happen, no matter how much someone may want it, at least taking into account the power of the USA, and first and foremost its economic power. The USA is one of our leading partners in the economic and political spheres and in some areas the activities, role and significance of the USA for Russia are absolutely unique. I am talking first and foremost about our cooperation in the sphere of international security and strategic stability. We should not forget that the USA and Russia are the biggest nuclear powers and that very much in the world depends on our behaviour, on our mutual relations.
I do not need to speak about our cooperation in the economic sphere. Taking into account all these circumstances, and even the fact that, say, in several areas which are very sensitive for us - for example, the fight against terrorism - the USA is a consistent and reliable partner for us, all this creates a certain situation as regards the USA. So, I do not agree with the formulation of the question about the USA remaining aloof in some way.
But, also, in an earlier period, when the Soviet Union ruled one camp and the USA the other, you could behave in these terms. Today the situation in the world is completely different. Today, if we want a balanced world, it has to develop along the lines of democratic principles. I assure you that everyone understands this.
If you mean the difficulties that arose in connection with the events in Iraq, then there are many explanations here, but one of them - and not the only one - is, of course, the threat that the USA itself felt, the blow to its national self-esteem after the terrorist act of 11 September and the need to assert itself. I don't think this was done in the best way, but this was one of the things that prompted it. And, in principle, you have, of course, to understand this.
But you know our stand on this. It was not only consistent in relation to the events in Iraq, it was also quite firm.
And, you see, the US president could anyway have behaved differently. He could have taken offence. He could simply have refused to come to St Petersburg. He could have done a whole range of things to aggravate Russian-US relations. But President Bush chose a different tactic, another path, and behaved like a serious politician, like someone interested in developing relations with Russia and with the whole world. And he came to St Petersburg. We reached agreement on many very important documents and issues. It would have been silly of us not to see these signs and to push away the outstretched hand. It would have been an unforgivable mistake to neglect this and turn our back capriciously and create some coalition that would divide the international community.
We will continue to take a principled stand on the questions on which we have our own view. We will also continue to adhere first and foremost to the aims of our national policies and national interests in implementing foreign policy goals. But we will help strengthen the international community.
[Presenter] On the subject of the results of the summit, the president also stressed the importance of the document adopted by the G8 on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction:
[Putin] I regard the nonproliferation problem as one of the most important problems of the 21st century, one of the most acute around which all civilized countries should unite, unite in the name of finding a solution.
As for Iran, we are cooperating with Iran, which is our neighbour, and we will continue to cooperate. We are categorically against the dragging up of problems that could be used for unscrupulous competition, including on the Iranian market.
But, at the same time, we believe that the IAEA should be among those playing a key role in nonproliferation. An organization like the IAEA. And we will insist that all Iranian programmes in the nuclear sphere are overseen by this organization. And we will build our cooperation with all countries in accordance with how open they are and how willing they are to place their programmes under IAEA control.