Bush, Putin urge Iran, N. Korea on nukes
( 2003-09-28 10:08) (Agencies)
U.S. President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday urged
Iran and North Korea to abandon suspected nuclear-weapons programs, glossing
over divisions about how to deal with both countries. Putin also declined to
pledge any postwar help for Iraq.
Putin said any Russian
contribution to Iraq's reconstruction would depend on a U.N. resolution sought
by the United States to encourage other countries to offer money and
peacekeeping troops. Along with France and Germany, Russia is demanding a
greater role for the United Nations in Iraq and a speedier timetable for ending
the U.S. occupation.
George W. Bush pats his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the back
after remarks to the press at the Camp David Presidential retreat in
Maryland September 27, 2003. Bush and Putin urged Iran on Saturday to
cooperate with international demands to insure it is not developing a
nuclear weapon. [Reuters]
Despite their differences, Bush and Putin stressed
their personal friendship and the great strides in U.S.-Russian relations since
the Cold War.
"I like him. He's a good fellow to spend quality time
with," Bush said, standing in the warm sun of Camp David after two days of
The invitation to the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin
Mountains was intended to underscore their close ties, after meetings earlier
during Bush's administration at the White House and the president's ranch in
Their show of harmony notwithstanding, Putin gave
no indication he was willing to pull back from an US$800 million deal to build a
power plant in southern Iran. Bush has pressed Putin for two years to abandon
the project, and the International Atomic Energy Agency said last week it had
found new evidence that Iran is enriching uranium.
Putin said Russia would "give a clear but respectful signal to Iran about the
necessity to continue and expand its cooperation" with international
He said Russia "has no desire and no plans to contribute in
any way to the development of weapons of mass destruction, either in Iran or any
other country in the world."
Emphasizing agreement, Bush said, "We share
a goal and that is to make sure Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon, or a nuclear
Putin made no concessions on Iran in private, either, a
senior administration official told reporters on condition of anonymity. But the
official said the Russians' willingness to nudge Iran toward IAEA cooperation is
part of a pattern of small steps toward progress.
Bush said the United
States and Russia jointly urged North Korea to "completely, verifiably and
irreversibly end its nuclear programs." But, again, there was disagreement.
Putin said that in exchange for North Korea's dismantling of its nuclear
program, the United States should give the country a guarantee of its security.
Bush has been unwilling to make that concession to North Korea, a country he has
branded as part of "an axis of evil" along with Iran and
CLEAR BREAK ON IRAQ
Bush and Putin did not mask their differences on Iraq, and the Russian
leader hedged any offer of postwar help on the outcome of the U.N. resolution
"We had differences over Iraq in terms of the practical
way of how to resolve this problem," Putin said. "But we had understanding on
the essence of the problem."
As for reconstruction help, Putin said, "The
degree and the extent and the level of Russian participation ... will be
determined after we see the resolution."
Bush declared himself pleased
with cooperation from other countries, even though he came away empty-handed
from two days of diplomatic talks last week in New York.
that some countries are inhibited from participation because of the lack of a
U.N. resolution," Bush said.
The United States hopes to assemble an
international division of 10,000 to 15,000 peacekeeping troops from India,
Pakistan, Turkey, South Korea and other countries.
Bush said that he and
Putin had "some very frank discussions about Iraq." The Russian president
strongly opposed the war and has said that the turbulent aftermath proves he was
"I understood his position," Bush said. "He understood mine.
Because we've got a trustworthy relationship, we're able to move beyond any
disagreement over a single issue."
In his weekly radio address Saturday,
Bush urged all countries to help Iraq.
"In the struggle between terrorist
killers and peaceful nations, there is no neutral ground," the president said.
"All nations must join in confronting this threat where it arises, before the
terrorists can inflict even greater harm and suffering."
SUPPORT ON CHECHNYA
Bush gave Putin
support on his crackdown in Chechnya. Russia and the United States have been
targets of terrorists, Bush said.
"No cause justifies terror," Bush
added. "Terrorists must be opposed wherever they spread chaos and destruction,
including Chechnya." But Bush went on to say, "A lasting solution to that
conflict will require an end to terror, respect for human rights and a political
settlement that leads to free and fair elections."
Bush also defended
tough U.S. visa policies that Putin complained were impeding legitimate travel
by journalists, business people, artists and educators.
"Our intention is
not to slow down visits," Bush said. "Our intention is to make sure that
visitors who come are reasonable people" and not terrorists. He said the system
was still be worked out.
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