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  Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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Vladimir Putin and George Bush will have a meeting in the format of the G8 summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George Bush will have a meeting in the format of the G8 summit here Thursday, with focus to be given to the U.S. plans of deploying elements of its anti-ballistic missile system in Europe. Apart from that, the two Presidents will also look at a chain of problems that have accumulated in relations between Moscow and Washington. “We’ll speak openly and straightforwardly and we hope to hear explanations from them /as regards the anti-ballistic missiles/,” Putin’s aide Sergei Prikhodko said, admitting the complexity and importance of the issue. “I wouldn’t say we have full understanding of the reasons for and formulas of assessment of the risks that may necessitate the methods the U.S. plans to resort to,” he said. Putin himself made a sharper remark as he spoke to reporters. “We’d like to be heard and don’t rule out our U.S. partners will reconsider but if it doesn’t happen we’ll absolve ourselves of all responsibility for retaliatory steps, as we are not the initiators of the budding arms race in Europe,” he said. Putin criticized the U.S. Administration for the failure to discuss the anti-ballistic missiles plans either with Russia or inside the European Union. “Did anyone ask Europe,” he asked with a rhetoric note. “There wasn’t any kind of a pan-European decision, was there?” Putin also mentioned the proposals that Moscow had received from Washington. “Our U.S. partners would like us to provide our own missiles as targets they could use for training,” he said. “Good guys! That’s a thrilling idea!” In the meantime, Bush does not lose the hope he will succeed in making Putin change his mind. He voiced his conviction that Russia is not an enemy and if President Putin says the ABM program is a menace, the U.S. will have to give him to understand that this is not so. Bush also expressed his conviction that differences over the ABM cannot affect U.S.-Russian cooperation on the problems of nuclear nonproliferation and Iran’s nuclear program. He said he does not see how those differences as regards the ABM might possibly impede close cooperation in the areas as vital as Iran or nonproliferation. When a correspondent asked him if he foresaw a tense atmosphere at the talks with Putin, Bush said he work towards preventing tensions at the talks. He indicated the Administration’s willingness to continue dialogue with Russia on the problem of Kosovo. Bush underlined he knows how concerned Putin is by the situation in Kosovo and that is why both sides should continue joint work on it.
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