More missile ideas at Russia-U.S. 'lobster summit'
The Russian President has used a two-day summit with his U.S. counterpart to raise another alternative to America's planned missile defence shield in eastern Europe.
The relaxed surroundings of the Bush family compound at Kennebunkport for the so-called 'lobster summit' allowed both Vladimir Putin and George Bush to strebgthen their personal bonds.
Mr Putin, who's already suggested the use of Russia's radar base in Azerbaijan for a shield and the establishment of information exchange centres in Moscow and Brussels, said he was willing to go further.
“As President Bush pointed out, we do support the idea of the continued consultations on the issue. At the same time we do believe that the number of parties to these consultations could be expanded to the European countries which are interested in resolving the issue. And the idea is to achieve it through the Russia-NATO Council. If necessarily, we are ready to involve the Gabala radar which we rent from Azerbaijan in this work. We are ready to modernise it if necessary. And it is not enough, we are ready to engage the early-warning system under construction in Southern Russia,” Vladimir Putin stressed.
President George Bush appeared to be open to more talks on the issue.
“President Putin proposed a regional approach to missile defence, that we are to work together bilaterally as well as work through the Russia-NATO Council, and I am in strong agreement with that concept,” commented George W. Bush.
The level of democracy in Russia is often criticised by the U.S, and President Putin agreed there was room for improvement, although he said many countries face the problem.
“Even in, shall we say, mature democracies, we see basically the same problems as we have to do with. It also has to do with relations with the media, human rights and the right of people to the private life beyond the control of the government and the state. And if you'd remember how Larry King tortured the former CIA Director George Tenet, you will understand that there exist other problems in the world. We have common problems and we are ready to listen to each other,” he said.
Kosovo and the future of Iran's nuclear programme were also raised, with both presidents agreeing they need to stand united to send a common message.
It's often said that personal bonds are important between leaders and George Bush said he trusts Putin: “Dealing with a world leader, you never know if he is telling truth or not. I have never worried about it with Vladimir Putin.”
The meeting wasn't only about eating lobsters and fishing, but also about the legacy they both will leave for their successors.
“The deck has been dealt and we are ready to play. And I hope we'll be playing the same game,” concluded Vladimir Putin.
After the meeting the presidents gave a press conference, where they shared their views on the countries' relations and the most significant global problems. To watch the whole press conference please follow this link.
Meanwhile, Russia Today's political commentator, Peter Lavelle, says this meeting was special and could turn a new page in Russia-U.S. relations.
“I think at the end of the day Vladimir Putin got exactly what he wanted – the recognition that Russia is an international player in the world and a partner to work with, not to be cut down, not to be lectured. I think what was really new that we got here – that’s the offer about Azerbaijan, the alternative missile defence system that was talked about at G8. This is the more enhanced version of it, maybe the new page has been turned, let’s hope so,” noted Peter Lavelle.