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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 > 2002 > May

Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Joint Press Availability
Reykjavik, Iceland
May 14, 2002

SECRETARY POWELL:  Minister Ivanov and I just had a good conversation.  As you might expect, we shook hands once again on the treaty that we concluded yesterday.  And our two sides are hard at work conforming language and getting it ready for signature by the two Presidents at the time of the Moscow Summit.  We also went over a variety of joint declarations and political declarations that we're working on. 

We discussed other bilateral issues but also we took note of the terrible act of terror that took place in Kashmir, and we want to extend, in this setting, our sympathy to those who lost loved ones in that terrorist attack.  It once again reminds us of the danger that terrorism presents to all civilized people and nations, and we condemn it totally.  We will work with both sides to see if we can keep emotions under control in that very, very difficult part of the world, and do whatever we can to help bring those responsible to justice.

Of course we're both pleased to be present for the last meeting of the Permanent Joint Council, and to conclude the work with respect to the new NATO-Russia Council, which will be formally inaugurated on the 28th of May in Rome.  And so the Minister chaired his last meeting of that group today. 

MINISTER IVANOV:  It is quite natural that we paid primary attention to the preparations for the forthcoming visit of U.S. President Bush to Russia, to which we paid very close attention.  I think we will continue to discuss details every day during the time remaining before the summit to ensure that the summit is a complete success.

We're interested to ensure that this visit is marked by new progress, new movement forward in cooperation between our countries in various areas.  And that the documents that will be signed by the two Presidents will certainly create a solid basis for such progress.  We believe that the success of this visit -- of the forthcoming summit -- will mark a very important event, not only in Russian-American relations, but in international relations as well.

Russia and the United States, as two great nuclear superpowers, have special responsibility for security and stability in the world.  And by signing an important treaty on reductions in strategic offensive arms, we demonstrate once again our strong resolve to go ahead in reducing the nuclear threshold.

The creation today of the Russia-NATO Joint Council is also an important event in ensuring international stability, in which our countries play a very important role.

So we look forward to the President of the United States' visit to Russia, and we will be happy to greet him in Russia.


QUESTION:  Minister Ivanov, did you discuss Iraq with Secretary Powell, and what impact do you suppose will rapid military action on Iraq have on growing integration of your country with Western security institutions? 

MINISTER IVANOV:  Today we noted with satisfaction that the United Nations Security Council adopted, unanimously, a resolution on Iraq.  Over the past month, we have been working intensively together to prepare these draft projects of the resolution.   Simultaneously, on our part, we take serious efforts to ensure the continuation of dialogue between the United Nations Secretary General and Iraq on implementation of the resolutions regarding Iraq.  We expect that these negotiations must lead to the return of international observers to Iraq, where they will continue performing their mission within the framework of the disarmament dossier.  Such decisions would help us to move forward to achieve progress in implementation of the appropriate resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which would lead to the final removal of sanctions against Iraq.  We will continue to take efforts in this regard. 

QUESTION:  The first question is for Minister Ivanov.  Could you say several words about the committees and mechanisms that will be established to work on the issues that have not yet been agreed upon?  And the second question is for Secretary Powell.  What is the reason that you finally agreed to a treaty, because as we know, you don't like treaties? (laughter)

MINISTER IVANOV:  In the agreement, we codified the agreements on which we agreed. (laughter)  This treaty provides for the establishment of a working group on the implementation of this treaty.  Simultaneously, we will continue -- we are conducting negotiations, and we will continue conducting negotiations -- on other issues in other areas.  The conclusion of this treaty does not mean that negotiations stop here. 

SECRETARY POWELL:  With respect to this treaty and this agreement, the United States initially did not think we needed a treaty; we did not need to legally bind one another.  President Bush made a decision to significantly reduce the number of our deployed warheads.  And he reached that conclusion separately from conversations with the Russian Federation, and he did it because the Russians are friends.  We're no longer enemies.  The cold war is over.  All we needed was enough weapons for us to feel secure, and President Putin was free to make his own judgment as to what he thought the Russian people needed, what the Russian Federation needed. 

But as we continued our discussions, the Russian side felt that it would be more stabilizing, and it would be more understandable to the peoples of both nations if we made this a legally binding agreement between the two nations, so that there would be predictability in the future.  After President Bush and President Putin are no longer in office, there would be something that people could look at and say, "This is what they accomplished."

As a result of that back and forth conversation, President Bush agreed to a legally binding agreement, and we determined that the best way to do it on our side would be a treaty to be ratified by our Senate which makes it a companion document to the treaty they will be sending to their Duma.  So it's two Presidents, and two Foreign Ministers, and two governments and peoples, talking to one another as to the best way to go forward. 

MINISTER IVANOV:  We like treaties. (laughter)

SECRETARY POWELL:  We do like this treaty. (laughter)

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, you just said the cold war is over, and you've described relations between the two countries in a rather fulsome way.  Do you have a new name for relations between the two countries?  And I'd like to ask Foreign Minister Ivanov if he agrees the cold war is over.

SECRETARY POWELL:  No, we haven't looked for a new neon sign to put over the relationship.  But clearly a strong friendship and partnership is being forged between Russia and the United States, and between Russia and the west in general, as evidenced by what we did here at NATO today, and by the Minister spending two days here in Reykjavik to meet with other European colleagues.  But we don't yet quite have a cliché to capture this all, and I have not spent a lot of time looking for one.   

MINISTER IVANOV:  The cold war is over.  This is a fact acknowledged by everyone.  The other thing is that we must now, together, build the new world order, and this will be a long process, and a difficult process.  As to our relations with the United States, we want them to be partnership relations, constructive relations, and predictable relations.  These are three definitions that are important to us. 

QUESTION:  The question is both for the Foreign Minister and Mr. Secretary of State.  The first question is what will be the title of the new treaty on reductions in strategic offensive arms?  It cannot be called START III, because START II has not been ratified, so what is the formula for its title?  And the second part of the question, what other documents are supposed to be signed or issued during the Summit? 

SECRETARY POWELL:  We do not have an acronym for the treaty of the kind that existed previously; it will not be START III for sure. (laughter)

MINISTER IVANOV:  We are working on conforming these treaties linguistically.

SECRETARY POWELL:  We have a common understanding of the title, but we're conforming it into the two languages, and that will be done in the next day or so, so that we will see what it actually says at that point.  But we're not searching for a clever acronym. 

MINISTER IVANOV:  We have two documents that will be signed during the summit.  These will be the treaty and a declaration on new strategic relations between Russia and the United States. There will be issued, also, several other statements that will not be signed.  In particular, a statement on combating terrorism, on trade relations between our countries, a statement on cooperation in the energy sphere, a statement on the contacts between people, and possible statements on some other issues.



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