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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2001 > December

Remarks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov Following Their Meeting

Secretary Colin L. Powell
The Kremlin
Moscow, Russia
December 10, 2001

Foreign Minister Ivanov: Dear ladies and gentlemen, very substantial and intensive talks between the President of Russia, Mr. Putin, and Secretary Powell took place. During these talks, key problems of U.S.-Russian relations and acute topics of mutual relations were discussed. This meeting was a logical development of the recent negotiations during the official visit of President Putin to the U.S. Moscow and Washington are satisfied that the positive impetus provide to the U.S.-Russian relations during the summit providing some results. The broadest evidence of this is the joint effort of our countries in combating terrorism. An active political dialogue is under way on the highest level in the first place and other levels, too. We are expanding cooperation at the international arena. Positive trends can be seen in the development of trade and economic relations. As was stated during the talks of the President with the State Secretary of the United States, both countries will do joint and mutual efforts to stipulate, fix, and step up the positive trends. We are convinced that this meets the interests of our countries and the stability and security of the whole world.

Great attention was paid to the issue of strategic stability. Russia proceeds from this option that without losing time, it is necessary to formalize now the results that were achieved during the recent Russian-U.S. summit in America. First of all, it is related to the expressed intentions to make cuts in nuclear offensive weapons and the relevant legal formalization of this arrangement, given adequate control and transparency. And we believe it would be politically right to set for ourselves the task to formalize this arrangement by the forthcoming visit by the President of the United States to Russia, which is scheduled for the middle of next year. We have also started the issues related to the ABM Treaty of 1972. The positions of the sides remain unchanged.

A lot of attention was paid to the issues of coordination of our efforts in the field of combating terrorism. First of all, the joint efforts were considered, given the leading role of the United Nations, as regards the formation of new bodies of authority in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban, especially in the economic and humanitarian fields. We have also considered the consideration that is of great concern to us, that is the Middle East situation. Russia and the U.S. are co-sponsors of the Middle East settlement and we have close interaction in this regard and we will do our best to find a way out of this dangerous crisis.

We have exchanged views on the possible future steps on the development of a partnership between Russia and NATO. A few days ago in Brussels we have discussed this issue in the Permanent Joint Council and the opinion was expressed that there was a necessity to elaborate a mechanism that would allow us to bring our partnership to a higher level so that it works in the formula when Russia and the NATO partners will form their group of twenty.

Our discussions also showed that the relations are developing and the Secretary of State even noted that it is even hard to count the number of times we have met this year, probably sixteen. We are sure there is a necessity to push our relationship up to a higher partnership level so that we enhance and make our cooperation stronger in all fields. This is the political will of the leaders of our countries, and the presidents of the United States and Russia will continue to work in that direction.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mister Minister. I am very pleased to be in Moscow for the first time as Secretary of State. I fully agree with the report my colleague has given with respect to our discussions today. I believe today represents once again another building block on the solid foundation that has been developed over the last eleven months between President Bush and President Putin. The last thing President Putin said was for us to work even more closely together in the future. We did have a long discussion on Afghanistan and are pleased with the developments to date and are pleased with the cooperation that exists between the United States and Russia in the situation in Afghanistan.

As the Minister noted, we had a good discussion on the strategic framework we are working on. We are close to getting the strategic offensive numbers in line with each other. Both of our presidents have charged us to finish this work as soon as possible, and to find ways to formalize this agreement at lower levels of strategic offensive numbers and to try to get the work concluded in time for the two presidents when they meet in Moscow in the middle of next year and to do it in a way that preserves the verification and transparency procedures that exist in current agreements. As the Minister said, we still have disagreements with regard to missile defense and the ABM treaty and we will continue working on the whole strategic framework both offensive and defense in the months ahead as instructed by our presidents.

We did cover other issues, including the situation in the Middle East, which troubles us both. We will be doing everything we can in our power to get both back to the negotiating table so we can get to a cease-fire. I just might conclude by saying that we are very pleased with the state of our relationship right now. I think our improvement has been accelerated by the events of September 11th and since then we have been working more closely than before September 11th and I expect to be working even more closely with Minister Ivanov and his colleagues and with other American cabinet officials and their colleagues on the Russian side in the months ahead. Our relation is strong and it will get stronger with each passing day. Thank you.

RICHARD BOUCHER: We’ll start with Mr. Tyler.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I believe there was some expectation that you would get the Russian offensive numbers when you came here today. Did you get them? And if you didn’t, could you describe why you didn’t? I wonder if we could ask both of you gentlemen, if this agreement, when it does come, will be in the form of a treaty and whether it should be, given that it has to outlive both the terms of Mr. Putin and President Bush. And finally, to Mr. Ivanov, I wonder if you could explain to us what it is the Russian side wants on the defensive missile question? Do you want to have a discussion about each level of American tests so you can evaluate its impact on the treaty or what’s the hang up, because our side won’t tell us? (Laughter).

SECRETARY POWELL: I will start with the second part to your first question. (Laughter). I encourage other members of the press to keep their questions shorter. (Laughter). On your first question, both of us recognize the need for a codification of the new levels we are going to and we will be discussing the form that that might take. It might be in the form of a treaty, or some other way of codifying it. With respect to what that agreed new lower level will be, we are very close. It’s a matter of me reporting back to President Bush with what I heard today before being able to say anything more and make it public.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I would like to join what the Secretary said. I thought that the main thing was to set approximately the radical cuts in the strategic offensive arms that we’ve arranged for. The levels that are determined by the sides allow us to start some practical work already. The main thing is that there is an understanding expressed by both sides that these reductions need to be embodied in some form of treaty formalization. During the negotiations we will decide what form it will take. As regards the third question, the Russian side has never put any prerequisites or preconditions as regards the ABM treaty. We proceeded from the assumption that this treaty is a useful one and that this needs to be preserved. This is our position.

QUESTION: ORT correspondent. This question is related to the ABM treaty, too. The first one to the Secretary of State: What are the intentions of the US Administration regarding the ABM Treaty of 1972? And second question to the Foreign Minister Ivanov: If the US unilaterally withdraws, what would the Russian reaction be?

SECRETARY POWELL: The United States has held the position for some years that we want to pursue the development of a limited missile defense system, a missile defense system that would be directed against irresponsible states that are developing missiles that can deliver weapons of mass destruction. We are not developing a system that would in any way under the deterrence capability of [Russian] offensive nuclear forces. The problem is that as we move forward with the development of such a system, the ABM Treaty constraints our testing and development and our deployment of such systems. So in due course, as we have said for a long period of time, we have to find a way to get out of the constraints of the ABM Treaty.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: In our forecasts, we’re not excluding the possibility that the US may be withdrawing from the ABM Treaty. First of all, this was mentioned in statements, including official ones by US officials, top officials. Secondly, the treaty itself, in Article XV, provides for such an opportunity. Therefore in our programs for ensuring national security we are forecasting such an option, too. At the same time, we are proceeding from the fact that this treaty is the key element of the entire treaty system of providing or ensuring strategic stability in the world. And therefore our task will be parallel to ensuring our own national security to promote the strengthening of the control, over the cuts in weapons, as well as the non-proliferation regime.

RICHARD BOUCHER: Reuters, for a question.

QUESTION: I have two and a half questions. (Laughter). Foreign Minister Ivanov --

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: Two for you and half for me. (Laughter).

QUESTION: You can decide. Since the Kazantsev talks failed last month, when do the Russians intend to resume negotiations with the Chechens? And, for you, Secretary Powell, did you get a commitment from the Russian side that alleged atrocities in Chechnya would be investigated? And did you discuss the case of TV-6 and will President Putin act to ensure that it is not closed?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: As for the first question, you are well aware of the statement by the Russian President in this regard and you are aware of the conditions that are set for the continuation of the political dialogue. On these conditions, Moscow is ready to continue negotiation and right now the ball is in the [court] of the Chechen people.

SECRETARY POWELL: We had a good exchange of views of Chechnya and the Foreign Minister has just touched on that. In the course of the discussion I indicated to President Putin that there was continuing concern on the part of many Americans about atrocities that might have been committed in the past . We have previously received assurances that where alleged atrocities are known about, they will be investigated. With respect to TV-6, President Putin and I did not discuss it. Mr. Ivanov and I had an earlier discussion about media freedom and the role that a free and independent media plays in a free and democratic society.

QUESTION: First of all, does the US Administration plan to expand their anti-terrorist operation to cover other countries of the region, Iraq in particular, and a small addition to the previous question that was addressed to the Secretary of State. You were a military service man, and you were very high-ranking military man, and you also participated in operations such as Desert Storm. But you said you were very glad to come to Moscow as a diplomat. Does that mean that it is easier for you to handle all the crises as a diplomat rather than as a military [man]? (Laughter).

SECRETARY POWELL: With respect to your first question, the United States and its partners are embarked on a campaign against terrorism throughout the entire world. The first phase of that campaign was directed against Usama bin Laden, al-Qaida, and the Taliban. As we get into other phases of the operation, we need to look at those terrorist organization that exist and those regimes that support them, or those regimes that are developing weapons of mass destruction that could be used by terrorists or threaten other nations. President Bush has not yet made any decision, nor has he received any recommendations from his national security team as to targets we should go after, to what targets we should direct our attention in the next phase of the campaign. Some problems can be solved by diplomats. Other problems can only be solved, unfortunately, by soldiers who are willing to put their lives at risk. So a good foreign policy should be backed up by good diplomats and good soldiers.

Thank you.

Released on December 10, 2001

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