Photo Op with Russian President Vladimir Putin
St. Petersburg, Russia
May 25, 2002
1:05 P.M. (Local)
QUESTION: Mr. President, allow me to ask you -- (inaudible) -- summarize results
of your -- (inaudible). And the second part of that question, the expectation
of the Moscow summit -- how do you think --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first, the hospitality has been magnificent. The time
we spent last night with the Putins in their beautiful home was very relaxing
for Laura and me. It gave us a great chance to see how the Putins live, a very
good sense of their values. I think the thing that struck me the most was how
they have raised their daughters. They've got two beautiful daughters, who are
incredibly talented young ladies. It is clear their mom and dad love them a
lot, and that was impressive to Laura and me.
The other good piece of news is I got to go actually run outside -- (laughter)
-- which is a difficult thing for me to do when I'm on the road and in Washington,
as well. I ran on beautiful grounds, it's such a spectacular piece of property.
And then we had a wonderful breakfast -- special Russian foods. It's been a
wonderful, relaxing experience.
I was very touched that the President took time yesterday, after going to the
Kremlin -- after going to Red Square, to take us to his office. And I thought
it was a great personal touch, that was important to see the private side of
this man's life. It meant a lot.
Secondly, I think the summit was -- met expectations, it met my expectations.
I hope it met the President's expectations. We not only signed a very important
treaty, we signed a -- you know, a very important protocol of how our relations
ought to go forward and I'm really glad that -- I'm glad that all the hard work
on both sides has paid off. And this will be good for the Russian people; this
agreement will be good for the people of Russia and it'll be good for the people
You know, at the St. Petersburg Cemetery today, the lady who gave us a tour
spoke about peace and how it was important for everybody who walked those hallowed
grounds to remember the ravages of war and to remember the importance of peace.
And I explained to her that this visit was a visit of peace, where we cast aside
the old ways of suspicion and now embrace peace.
Sorry about the interpreter. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: -- interpretation.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Okay. Well, good luck. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: (Asked in Russian.)
PRESIDENT PUTIN: As far as the staying of Mr. President and his wife in our
home yesterday, I would like you to know two things. For one thing, our personal
relations to have been greatly strengthened. They're very happy to know that
I'm dealing with very honest and upward and straight people. That is one.
And then there is something else, which is by no means a political thing. Yesterday,
when we had our dinner and I was treating my guests of course to the Russian
caviar, and I told him how some of the caviar is produced. The experts would
take the fish and open up the fish and then take the caviar and then throw out
the fish again and throw it back into the water. (Laughter.) Everybody was laughing
-- thinking that I was really inventing things on the spot, something really
improbable. (Laughter.) But I was trying to convince them -- I was really trying
to tell them that I was telling the truth, that's how we treated the environment.
The Secretary of State, the Russian Foreign Minister, Dr. Rice, Mr. Ivanov and
also both wives -- my wife and Mr. President's wife -- all laughed at me. And
there was only one person who wouldn't laugh and said, "I do believe you,
Mr. President," and that was the President of the United States. (Laughter.)
And I want to confirm it here and now, that's the truth, ladies and gentlemen.
And one more thing. The dinner, the supper was over somewhere around midnight,
because we were supposed to go to St. Petersburg early in the morning. Of course,
we got up very early, we didn't have enough sleep this morning. And when last
night, before going to bed, Mr. President told me that he would be jogging in
the morning, I wouldn't believe him. (Laughter.) But he was doing that, just
Well, on a serious note, as far as the results of this visit are concerned,
I would like to say that myself and my experts, all my experts, we have been
discussing the results of the visit this morning and we have officially agreed
that we are satisfied and all the goals of this visit have been achieved.
I thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: One question, Ron, go ahead.
QUESTION: If I could ask you real quickly, sir. Is there anything personal you
can do to ease tensions between Pakistan and India? And do you think President
Musharraf is doing enough to crack down on terrorism in Kashmir?
PRESIDENT BUSH: We are spending a lot of time on this subject -- "we"
being the administration. And we're making it very clear to both parties that
there is -- there's no benefit of a war, there's no benefit of a clash that
could eventually lead to a broader war.
We're deeply concerned about the rhetoric. It is very important for President
Musharraf to stop -- do what he said he's going to do to in his speech on terror,
and that is stop the incursions across the line -- the line of control. It's
important that the Indians know that he is going to fulfill that promise.
Vladimir and I have talked about this and he's got -- he, as well as the United
States and Great Britain and other countries have got influence in the region,
and he is going to meet soon at a conference where we believe Prime Minister
Vajpayee and President Musharraf will both be attending.
My point is, is that there's a lot of diplomatic efforts going into bringing
some calm and reason to the region.
PRESIDENT PUTIN: An international event is planned for the early June, this
year, in Kazikstan, where both President Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee
have been invited. I do hope they will come and there would be an opportunity
for us to discuss things. And we have covered that ground with the President
of the United States.
Of course, the testing while there is escalating tension really aggravates the
situation, and Russia is concerned and sorry about that. I'm sorry about that.
And we shall be working together to take steps in order to prevent the escalation
of the conflict.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, all.
QUESTION: (Asked in Russian.)
PRESIDENT PUTIN: -- some people believe, particularly in Europe, that in the
United States people give less attention to the matters artistic and they give
attention -- less, at least -- than in Europe. My dealings with your President
and his wife have demonstrated to me that this is a very deep mistake.