TV INTERVIEW ON EVIAN G8 SUMMIT WITH NIKOLAI ZLOBIN, OFFICIAL OF THE US CENTER FOR DEFENSE INFORMATION
[NOCHNOYE VREMYA FIRST CHANNEL NEWS PROGRAM, 23:30, JUNE 3, 2003]
SOURCE: FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE (http://www.fednews.ru/)
Anchor: Today we are discussing the results of the G8 summit with Nikolai Zlobin, director of the US Defense Information Center Russian and Asian Programs. He is on the line from Washington. Good evening, Nikolai Vasilyevich.
Zlobin: Good evening.
Anchor: So, can we say that the differences among the G8 leaders over the military operation in Iraq have been left behind, and that the recently popular formula that was current in the US -- "To forgive Russia, ignore Germany and punish France" -- is no longer relevant?
Zlobin: I think this summit, this meeting in France has shown that concrete tactical differences on what to do about Iraq are behind us. But Iraq has revealed serious differences on many philosophical issues, issues of world view if you like, regarding the assessment of the present situation in the world and how international organizations and structures such as the United Nations and the Security Council should work; what to do about current international law and so on; how to assess world terrorism, international terrorism, how to fight it, what exactly it is and so on.
These issues remain, they have not been resolved at the summit and nobody expected these issues be resolved there. Most probably it was important for the world to see that the leaders of the leading countries are able to discuss these problems among themselves in spite of the acute tactical differences over Iraq, which gives us a chance to hope that more serious and fundamental problems can potentially be agreed and resolved.
Anchor: President Vladimir Putin today praised the position of George Bush who chose not to nurse a grudge for the tough criticism of the military action in Iraq on the part of France, Germany and Russia and on the contrary, has opted for conciliation and dialogue. What is behind it?
Zlobin: I think we should give due to President Putin who has, I think, struck the right tone and found the right language and manner of communicating with the United States and with the leaders of the European powers. It had a very positive impact on the political situation in the world as a whole. I think President Bush sees Putin as a man who is capable of becoming his reliable partner in the future in tackling the problems we have just mentioned.
So, it is a long time since I last heard this question being discussed in Washington, the question of whether Russia should be forgiven. It used to be the attitude. The question is not of forgiving especially since Russia is not a guilty country.
The difference of views has fundamental implications, it is necessary to hammer them out and the two presidents should work together. I think President Bush sees President Putin as a man he can work with and agree such issues, which is in contrast to the attitude he has demonstrated towards a number of Western European leaders.
Anchor: G-8 leaders met the heads of other major states at Evian. Is it just politeness or a reflection of a new objective need?
Zlobin: I think it is a reflection of an objective need. The question is how far it will go. You see, the past few years have demonstrated that traditional international structures that exist in the world today are unable to solve the problems that face us, for example, the problem of international terrorism. The United Nations has proved unable even to seriously discuss and to find a common language. So, perhaps, the G-8 or the G-10 -- because it is hard to say where it will end up -- will become such a structures where these issues can be discussed.
I can tell you that only a few years ago everybody viewed the G-8, then still G-7, as an organization that was in decline. After the Cold War nobody saw any need for such an organization. But now that Russia has joined it and now that as it turns out representatives of other countries such as China could be invented we see that the organization can be more effective. In fact, not the organization but such meetings that are probably more effective in agreeing on issues that do not require a decision that needs to be put on paper. But discussion of the issues where a common view and an understanding of each other's positions are needed, where the leaders of the main powers can think and discuss things allowed.
Anchor: Thank you, Nikolai Vasilyevich.