U.S. President George W. Bush and
Russia's President Vladimir Putin said in
Bratislava, Slovakia, today that they have agreed that
Iran and North Korea should not be permitted to have nuclear weapons.
"I appreciate Vladimir's understanding on that issue," Bush said in a news
conference at Constitution Hall. "We had a very constructive dialogue about how to achieve that common goal."
Bush also told the media that Russia and the United States "agreed to work together to find peace in the Middle East.
"Russia's a part of the Quartet, and they played a constructive role in establishing the road map, and now we look forward to working
together to achieve peace" between Israel and the
Palestinians, Bush said.
Putin announced that the two countries will work together to curb "illicit trade in
MANPADS" —missiles that can be fired from launchers balanced on someone's shoulder. "I'd like to note that on the sidelines of
this summit, the Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Ivanov and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
signed a Russian-U.S. arrangement on cooperation in enhancing control over MANPADS," Putin said. "It is important
to neutralize the attempts to proliferate weapons of mass destruction."
The Russian President confirmed that "we talked a lot about nonproliferation. We talked a lot about the situation in Iran, about the situation in ... North Korea, and we share a common opinion in this regard, and we are taking a similar approach. We should put an end to the proliferation of missiles and missile technology. The
proliferation of such weapons is not in the interest of specific countries, or the international
community, in general."
Furthermore, said Putin, "We have also exchanged our views on the situation in Iraq, in the Middle East. Russia and the U.S.
have at their disposal some solid opportunities for normalizing the situation in places where
regional crises take place. We intend to actually use this potential.
The two presidents released joint written statements on nuclear security cooperation and on counter-terrorism, among other topics.
Concerning counter-terrorism, the two presidents said that in their meeting they had:
• Directed the co-chairs of the U.S.-Russian Counterterrorism Working Group to update their action plan, taking into consideration new counterterrorism challenges, and to press forward on implementation of action plan items;
• Agreed, because of the growing threat posed by terrorist use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), to direct U.S. and Russian experts to share information on IEDs; and
• Instructed U.S. and Russian experts to facilitate efforts to store MANPADS more securely, or to destroy them if they are obsolete or otherwise exceed defense requirements, and to eliminate the illegal trade in such weapons, building on the MANPADS agreement signed in Bratislava by Minister Ivanov and Secretary Rice. That agreement provides a bilateral framework for the United States and Russia to cooperate in the control of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that can threaten global aviation if obtained by criminals, terrorists and other non-state actors.
Following is the text of their joint statement on nuclear security cooperation:
"The United States and Russia will enhance cooperation to counter one of the gravest threats our two countries face, nuclear terrorism. We bear a special responsibility for the security of nuclear weapons and fissile material, in order to ensure that there is no possibility such weapons or materials would fall into terrorist hands. While the security of nuclear facilities in the U.S. and Russia meet current requirements, we stress that these requirements must be constantly enhanced to counter the evolving terrorist threats. Building on our earlier work, we announce today our intention to expand and deepen cooperation on nuclear security with the goal of enhancing the security of nuclear facilities in our two countries and, together with our friends and allies, around the globe.
"To this end the United States and Russia will continue and expand their cooperation on emergency response capability to deal with the consequences of a nuclear/radiological incident, including the development of additional technical methods to detect nuclear and radioactive materials that are, or may be, involved in the incident.
"We will work together to help ensure full implementation of UN
Security Council Resolution 1540 and early adoption of an International Convention on Nuclear Terrorism and the amended Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
"U.S. and Russian experts will share "best practices" for the sake of improving security at nuclear facilities, and will jointly initiate security "best practices" consultations with other countries that have advanced nuclear programs. Our experts will convene in 2005 a senior-level bilateral nuclear security workshop to focus increased attention on the "security culture" in our countries including fostering disciplined, well-trained, and responsible custodians and protective forces, and fully utilized and well-maintained security systems.
"The United States and Russia will continue to work jointly to develop low-enriched uranium fuel for use in any U.S.- and Russian-design research reactors in third countries now using high-enriched uranium fuel, and to return fresh and spent high-enriched uranium from U.S.- and Russian-design research reactors in third countries.
"The United States and Russia will continue our cooperation on security upgrades of nuclear facilities and develop a plan of work through and beyond 2008 on joint projects. Recognizing that the terrorist threat is both long-term and constantly evolving, in 2008 our countries will assess the joint projects and identify avenues for future cooperation consistent with our increased attention to the security culture in both countries.
"We have established a bilateral Senior Interagency Group chaired by Secretary of Energy Bodman and Rosatom Director Rumyantsev for cooperation on nuclear security to oversee implementation of these cooperative efforts. A progress report will be due on July 1, 2005, and thereafter on a regular basis."