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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 24, 2002

President Bush, Russian President Putin Pledge Cooperation
Remarks by President Bush and President Putin at the Beginning of Expanded Bilateral Meeting
The Kremlin
Moscow, Russia

11:58 A.M. (L)

PRESIDENT PUTIN: Distinguished Mr. President, distinguished colleagues and friends, we are happy to welcome you in the capital of Russia and in the heart of it, in the Kremlin of Moscow.

This is the first visit of the President in office of the United States of America to the Russian Federation, and I'm very pleased to note that this visit is of a different quality than all previous visits of the heads of the U.S. state to our country.

I'd like to underline that if -- prior to this time virtually all meetings at this level were dedicated to overcoming contradictions or consequences of those contradictions. Today, we have the right to state the creation of an absolutely new quality to our relationship. This touches upon the issues of security and issues of limitation of a strategic goal, and our participation in the building of the new safe world. And this has a bearing to the quality of trust for the relationship. And all this happened over the past months, past 12 or 18 months with active participation and support of this process on behalf of the President of the United States, Mr. Bush, and his team.

Therefore, we're especially pleased, Distinguished Mr. President, to receive you here in Moscow, in Russia. Myself and my colleagues recall the warmth of the reception we were accorded in the United States including in your home, in your family. And we would like very much to respond with a similar hospitality. And we hope and we're confident that your visit to our country will be very productive and will serve a powerful thrust to the development of our relationship.

Welcome, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I appreciate your hospitality. It's a magnificent setting for our very important discussions and our signing of a treaty which says -- it says that we're friends, that we're going to cast aside old doubts and suspicions and welcome a new era between the relations between your great country and our country.

I'm really looking forward to coming to your home tonight to have dinner. We'll work all day long and then I look forward to relaxing with you in the setting of your home. I think it's -- I think it's an important signal for the world to see that we take our jobs very seriously and we visit in formal settings, we talk about important issues and then, after the working day is over, we will settle down as friends and have dinner together.

This is a day that has required your strong leadership and your vision, and I want to congratulate you and your team on working hard toward a vision of a world that is more peaceful and a world that is more prosperous for all of us.

And so thank you, sir, for your hospitality and for your friendship.

END 12:01 P.M. (L)

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