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Press Availability With Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov

Secretary Colin L. Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Moscow, Russia
May 14, 2003

(As Translated)

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: Distinguished Mr. Secretary of State, distinguished members of the U.S. delegation, first of all I would like to give you my apology for the sort of delay in coming because of the session in the State Duma was rather delayed, it was about ratification of the strategic defensive reduction treaty. I would like to inform you that the State Duma of Russia has ratified this treaty by a vast majority of votes. We believe that entering the force of this treaty will become one more very important step in the development of partnership-based relations between Russia and the United States for the sake of international stability and security of our states. Some deputies asked me whether it was about giving a gift, a present to Colin Powell on the occasion of his visit to Moscow. I believe that the ratification is a present to the peoples of our two countries, ratification by the Senate of the United States and State Duma of Russia, because this document is intended to serve the interests of security of our peoples. I would like to stress that in spite of all the differences that may arise or arose in the past, including around the Iraqi crisis, the important policy of the Russian Federation is oriented towards constructing a long-term friendly partnership with the United States. We are glad to welcome you to Moscow and we believe that our negotiations will touch upon a full range of international issues and problems and this will allow us to broaden and widen our partnership for the sake of stability and security. And in front of us is a very important event, the next meeting between our two Presidents in St. Petersburg, and our negotiations will also be a very important step in terms of preparation for this event. Once again, welcome to Moscow.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. It's a great pleasure to be back in Moscow especially on this day when we can celebrate Duma ratification of the treaty that leads to fewer nuclear weapons in the world. And I can assure you I am pleased that our meeting started late. And, this present is better than getting a new tie, I can assure you. As you said, Mr. Minister, this was a present to our people. It was a present to the world. Not only does it reduce our overall levels of nuclear weapons, more importantly I think, it shows how the United States and the Russian Federation can work together on areas of mutual interest.

It's appropriate the treaty was signed here in Moscow, right now here today when it was ratified by the Duma, and hopefully, the instruments [inaudible]. Even though disagreements will come along from time to time such as we had with respect to Iraq, we have demonstrated with this action that we can cooperate and that which pulls us together is far more powerful than items that pull us apart.


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