For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 13, 2001
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
on the President's Trip to Europe
the James S. Brady Briefing Room
10:22 A.M. EDT
DR. RICE: Good morning, how are you this morning? I'm here to give an overview of the President's trip to Europe next week.
Next Wednesday, July 18th, President Bush departs to Europe to attend the G-7/G-8 Summit in Genoa, Italy. During his six-day trip, which will take him to the United Kingdom, Italy, the Vatican and Kosovo. He will also have the opportunity to hold meetings with a number of leaders.
The President's overall objective for the Genoa Summit is to advance a vision of partnership between the G-8 and developing countries based on mutual responsibility that will help build a world that is more free, secure and prosperous.
The President will also build on the progress made during his June trip to advance the European agenda, building a Europe whole, free and at peace, and working with Europe to realize our common, global responsibilities.
In the United Kingdom, the President will begin his trip. While in the UK, the President will attend lunch with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip at Buckingham Palace, and join Prime Minister Blair at Chequers for bilateral meetings.
The United States and the UK, of course, cooperate on nearly every significant global change. We're strong allies in areas of arms control and nonproliferation, and work together to combat terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking.
The UK, of course, is a key NATO and European ally, and our troops and commanders are working side-by-side in NATO-led operations in the Balkans.
The President plans to cover a range of issues with Prime Minister Blair: bilateral relations; the upcoming G-8, G-7 summit; the Balkans; the Middle East; European security, including NATO enlargement; responding to the growing threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivery; and working together on new strategic responses to the new threats.
The President spoke with Prime Minister Blair early in July; he saw him at NATO, at Gotenbourg, last month; and, of course, received him at Camp David in February.
The President then departs for Genoa mid-morning on July 20th. While the focus of the time in Genoa will be the G-7/G-8 Summit, the President will also be able there to hold bilateral meetings with President Putin, with President Chirac, Chancellor Schroeder and Prime Minister Chretien.
The central theme of the Summit is poverty alleviation. The parties will emphasize global economic growth, free trade and accountability systems of governance as the foundations for effective poverty alleviation. They will also stress that poverty alleviation must be a partnership based on mutual responsibility, where developing countries put in place the policies to attract private investment, while industrialized countries ensure that they have the tools to do so.
These themes, an extension in many ways of the President's own compassionate conservatism at home, are reflected in the draft communiques of the G-7 and G-8.
While Blair, Chirac, Chretien, Putin and Schroeder -- and, of course, EU President Prodi -- are all veterans of last year's summit in Okinawa, this will be the first G-7/G-8 Summit for President Bush, as well as for Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi presided over the last Italian G-7 Summit in 1994, in Naples -- which was also, by the way, the first year that the Russians were invited to a G-8.
Let me say a few words about the summit, its structure and what we expect to achieve there.
The summit begins at 12:00 p.m., noon, with an arrival ceremony. The G-7 sessions then will last from mid-day to about 4:30 p.m., and they consist of a luncheon and working session. The topics covered in that session will be world economic outlook; oil prices; the trade, perhaps the launch of a new trade round; debt relief; and issues concerning Russia. The G-7 statement addresses many of these issues, and it will be released at the end of that afternoon session.
A significant outcome and focus of the session will be the new HIV/AIDS trust fund. The U.S. has played a leadership role in the efforts to fight the AIDS pandemic throughout the world, and this summit will formally launch the global AIDS fund, which emphasizes prevention in the continuum of treatment and care.
Secretary General Kofi Annan will join the members of the G-7/G-8 for this event.
Later in the evening, there will be an outreach working session and dinner that will be hosted by President Ciampi, and it will provide G-8 leaders an opportunity to discuss poverty alleviation with the heads of the following countries: Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Bangladesh and El Salvador. U.N. General Secretary Annan and World Bank President James Wolfensohn, as well as the Directors General of the World Health Organization, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Trade Organization will all join them.
That working session and dinner is expected to last about three hours.
Four substantive G-8 working sessions will be held the next day, on Saturday. And there will be late morning sessions, as well as luncheon and dinner sessions. At those dinner and luncheon sessions, the G-8 will discuss market access, private investment, education, the digital opportunity task force -- the DOT force that was created last year -- climate change and a number of other issues.
On Sunday, the summit concludes with the issuance of the G-8 communique. Now, on the margins of the summit, the President is going to hold, as I said, separate meetings with French President Chirac and German Chancellor Schroeder, as well as with Prime Minister Chretien.
He will also have a bilateral with President Putin, where they will attempt to continue to make progress on the new bilateral agenda that they set out at Ljubljana, a constructive, realistic agenda. They'll discuss a range of issues, including the new strategic framework for dealing with the security threats that we face. We will discuss ways to advance a reform and business-based economic relationship with Russia, as well as review our common interest in several regional issues.
The President will, of course, talk also to President Putin about a number of issues on which we do not agree -- Chechnya, about the concerns for media freedom, and on Russia's relations with its neighbors.
The President then goes on to Rome, where he will hold bilateral meetings with President Ciampi and Prime Minister Berlusconi and attend an audience with Pope John Paul II. While in Rome, the President will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
This part of the trip emphasizes the importance of our relationship with Italy. We are close allies and we share a number of responsibilities in almost every world organization. And, of course, we are particularly interested in talking about Italy's important Mediterranean presence that makes it a critical contributor to regional security and stability in the Balkans, North Africa and in the Middle East.
The President looks forward to discussing these important issues. He has had contact with Prime Minister Berlusconi, including seeing him on the recent trip to Europe in June, and phoning him shortly after his election in May.
At the Vatican, the President is looking forward to his meeting for the first time with Pope John Paul II, one of the great thinkers, moral and religious leaders of our time. You should also know that the Vatican and the United States have a close dialogue on international issues of common interest.
The U.S. values, in particular, the Vatican's significant contributions to international peace and human rights. The U.S. and the Holy See share many common views and consult regularly about issues of religious freedom.
The President will then go on to Camp Bondsteel, in Kosovo. And that is where he ends his trip. There, he plans to meet with a number of important figures in our Kosovo deployment. He looks forward to meeting with American troops serving in the Balkans. And there he intends to convey, through his visit, his appreciation to America's forces, demonstrating our commitment to working with our allies to advance peace and stability in the region.
After that trip -- which is pretty exhausting, like the last trip, but at least has us for a couple of nights in one country, as opposed to last time -- the President will return home.
And I'm prepared to take your questions.
Q Can you be a little more specific about the anti-poverty initiatives the President is going to bring with him? And do you expect that the stem cell decision will be made before he meets with -- and announced, before he meets with the Pope?
DR. RICE: The President will talk about a number of poverty alleviation issues with his colleagues, including the importance of access to education, the importance of a healthy population -- indeed, the whole HIV/AIDS plan is because there is a belief that this is a great humanitarian tragedy, but it's also a great tragedy for countries that are trying to make it out of poverty, when you have an infected population.
They'll talk about the DOT force that is access to Internet connection for countries that could get left behind. We'll talk some more about this over the next couple of days. The President, himself, I think will have a chance to say a little bit more about some of the poverty alleviation strategies. But that's the broad context, Ron.
And I want to emphasize that the President believes that global growth and global trade are in and of themselves absolutely necessary for poverty alleviation, and that what the G-7 does to make market access possible for poor countries is perhaps the most important poverty alleviation strategy of all.
Q On stem cell, do you think it will be done before the --
DR. RICE: I don't know.
Q Dr. Rice, you said that the formal launch of the HIV/AIDS trust fund -- which we have voted $200 million dollars as a country -- can you give us some expectation of what other kind of dollar values we're likely to see from other G-8 nations, and should we have some expectation that this fund will grow and Mr. Annan's presence there is to sort of acknowledge that growth?
DR. RICE: Well, we hope that there will be significant contributions to this fund at this effort to launch it. I think that there will be. I don't want to try to give you a number, because I think that they're continuing to work on the contributions.
But there is no doubt that a lot of progress has been made in putting this fund together, since the day that Secretary General Annan and President Bush stood out here in the Rose Garden and talked about launching the fund. And I think that if you talk to Kofi Annan you will see that he is really quite pleased with the progress that's been made in this short time.
Not only do they expect to make significant progress on contributions at this meeting, but the entire idea of a trust fund is that you would expect as the fund proves itself, demonstrates that the kind of strategy that is in place, the kind of conditionality that's in place for grants from the trust fund is working, that you would have more contributions coming into it. So this is going to be a long strategy.
Q If I might follow-up. The general structure of the G-8 meeting, is it in part put together to deal with what is expected to be a rather large protest in Genoa from those who have habitually been protesting not only globalization, but world trade? Are you trying to organize this in a way preemptively to deal with those concerns and, perhaps, bring the protest down to a lower level?
DR. RICE: This is being organized in this way because the G-7 and G-8 really believe that this is an important agenda for the industrialized world.
And I think that you're seeing this connection made more and more around the world. Indeed, when you look back at the Summit of the Americas, I think you're going to see that there were a lot of the same themes that are going to be expressed: that you have to have accountability of governments that are trying to bring themselves out of poverty; you have to have good governance; you have to have anti-corruption efforts. But you do have to have an international structure that promotes global growth and promotes global trade.
So I think you're going to see that this is a theme that is there all along. And it's not done to deal with any specific criticism -- it's really to set an affirmative agenda about how we get to dealing with these problems.
Q A question about the meeting with the Pope and then about the meeting with Putin. Is he expected to bring up stem cell with the Pope? And on the Putin question, when the United States actually takes the step that would violate the ABM Treaty, is it going to, like, make an official announcement and say, we are now doing this? Or is it just going to do it? Are we going to have a new negotiation? How do you actually officially do that?
DR. RICE: On the Pope, I think that the agenda with the Pope will be whatever the Holy Father and the President decide to talk about. So I really can't answer that question.
In terms of the ABM Treaty, first of all, we have been saying for some time that there are two problems with the ABM Treaty. One is that it limits the kind of research and testing that you need to find the most effective systems.
Just to give you an example, a lot of people like the idea of a sea-based system. But if you test a sea-based system in an ABM mode, then you're in violation of the treaty. So the treaty is quite restrictive. It was intended to prevent you from building ballistic missile systems, so it's not surprising that it's restrictive on these matters.
Now, obviously, the United States is not going to do something illegal. We are working an opportunity here, we believe, with the Russians to redefine this relationship. And that's the second problem with the treaty. It's not appropriate to a relationship between great powers that are not enemies.
And so what we're saying to the Russians is, let's move beyond that treaty. We have some time now with the Russians over the next period of time here to try and come to a new strategic framework. But I can assure you that we understand our obligations and we understand our legal obligations and we would -- anything that we would do, we're going to do it legally.
Q So coming to a new framework means, in a sense, renegotiating the ABM Treaty?
DR. RICE: Coming to a new framework means that we need to move past where we are with the ABM Treaty to something that more properly reflects the new relationship with Russia. And it means that we have to be able, for instance, to deal with the new threats with limited defenses.
We also believe, by the way, that the new strategic framework should include lower offensive numbers; that it should also include new nonproliferation efforts. So this is not just missile defense, this is really redefining the strategic relationship with Russia.
Q Does the President support Russian membership in the World Trade Organization? Do you see a way there to maybe sweeten the pot on missile defense?
DR. RICE: We believe -- we're free traders, and we believe that any country that can meet the terms and, therefore, be capable of really being part of the World Trade Organization ought to be -- and, in fact, we've said that we do favor Russian accession to the WTO -- it would be good to work with the Russians to try and figure out how that can be brought about. I think the Russians, themselves, would say that they have a number of steps that they have to take internally, before WTO accession would be possible. But we absolutely think it would be a good thing.
Q Will this be on the agenda in the --
DR. RICE: Well, remember that shortly after the President meets with President Putin, Secretary Evans and Secretary O'Neill will be in Moscow. I think it's anticipated that somewhere in the near future, Trade Representative Zoellick would be in Moscow. And there clearly would be opportunities to talk about this.
Q May we just deviate for a second on the Olympics? Does the administration now believe that this choosing of Beijing will make the situation better concerning human rights and religious rights in China?
DR. RICE: Well, I think that we understand that this was a decision for the IOC to take. As we've said, this is an IOC decision, it's now been made. I think what we do know is that American athletes are going to go there and they're going to compete and, hopefully, compete very well and bring home lots of gold medals.
Now, as to human rights in China and the agenda for human rights and our bilateral relationship with China, the President has made very clear that human rights will be on the agenda. He talked, when he talked to President Jiang Zemin the other day, about the cases of these American citizens and permanent residents and the importance of transparency, the importance of humanitarian considerations. And he will continue to do that. We have a human rights agenda with China. I think the Chinese expect it and we'll continue to pursue that in our bilateral relationship.
Q The President is going to go to Chequers at a time where in Belfast they have had a significant amount of bloodshed, last night. He said that achieving peace in Northern Ireland is a matter of national security for the U.S. Is he thinking of doing anything personally in the next few days to try and cobble something together?
DR. RICE: The President, about a week ago, called both Bertie Ahern and Prime Minister Blair to say that he was watching the situation very closely; that he was supportive of what they were trying to do.
Right now, the two of them have intervened again in a rather aggressive way to try and get the Good Friday agreement back on track.
I think that the President believes at this point that this is exactly what the United States should be doing. Richard Haass, who is, of course, the person who has responsibility for this, is working on the issue. I know that he talks to people about the issue all the time.
The United States stands ready, of course, to help when we can, or when it is thought that we could do something helpful. Clearly, he will want to discuss with Prime Minister Blair whether there is more that we can do to be helpful.
Q Digressing again on another topic. Argentina's economy is in desperate shape. Is this something that will come up at the G-8, particularly in terms of debt relief? And is the U.S., at this point, committed to doing anything to help the Argentineans bail out their economy?
DR. RICE: Well, I think that -- clearly, we're monitoring the situation very, very carefully. And I should note that a number of Treasury officials are in contact with their counterparts and Secretary O'Neill has been in contact with Finance Minister Cavallo.
The President, you may also know, sent a letter to President de la Rua. What we're taking note of at this point is that Argentina is trying to take some steps to deal with its financial and economic situation; that that is really the best course of action. And we certainly hope that they can find a way to deal with the financial -- the basic and fundamental financial issues and fiscal issues that they're dealing with.
Q Some political analysts and leaders in Latin America are talking about that it's too late for the government of Argentina to try to fix the situation in their country. And they are having pressure over the IMF and the United States and saying that it's going to be too late for the United States to support Argentina with a bilateral package. So are you waiting to have another crisis, or why the United States is not helping Argentina the way they did with Mexico in 1995?
DR. RICE: Well, Remember that Argentina has a program with the IMF, and we're encouraging Argentina to continue working with the IMF on that program. But the best course right now is for Argentina to be able to take the steps it needs to be able to take at home to stabilize the financial situation. And the President sent to President de la Rua his concerns and his hopes that Argentina will be able to do that successfully.
Q Let me ask you a couple of questions, if I may. The first goes back to the discussions between the President and President Putin on the national missile defense. Secretary Rumsfeld has made clear we will begin testing at a specific spot in Alaska. At what point do those tests begin to -- or does that process begin to bump up against the ABM Treaty?
And on the G-7-8 summit, in general, this time we're bringing in the leaders of a number of other countries -- Mali, Algeria, South Africa -- there have been calls to increase the participation to reflect the larger percentage of the world's population, instead of just the two-thirds or so of the world's economy. How does the United States feel about that?
DR. RICE: Let's remember that the origin of the G-7 was the largest industrialized countries dealing with common economic challenges. And I think that the United States believes that there is still considerable value in having a forum in which they can do that. For instance, if they can talk this time about the need for global economic growth, if they can talk about the importance of a trade round, it is very useful to have the largest industrial economies doing that.
When Russia joins the agenda is somewhat different and it does recognize Russia's political status in the world. And they can talk about a host of other issues. I think adding these countries to this agenda -- and I want to just emphasize that these countries are coming because this is about poverty alleviation; this is not an attempt to expand the G-8 somehow -- these countries are coming because I think that it is now generally recognized around the world that the best mechanisms for countries to get out of poverty and to be able to do something for the prosperity of their people is to have a global economic system that is growing, that is trading openly, where these countries can find access for their goods and markets. And I think you're going to hear all of those themes sounded.
But it is also understood that there's a responsibility on the part of the countries themselves to have good governance, to be able to be transparent enough to attract investment. And there's an understanding that there's a mutual responsibility to deal with issues like HIV/AIDS and access to education, and the like. And so I think that's the reason.
On the ABM Treaty, again, we believe that the ABM Treaty is very restrictive, and no one can answer specifically what might do what, because the question we're answering -- we're trying to answer is, what's the most effective way to move to limited missile defenses. There are a lot of restrictions in the ABM Treaty that will keep you from testing components together in a way that gives you an answer to that question. And so our job now is to work on a transition with the Russians from the old system that we've been in that is restrictive and will keep us from responding to the new threats, to a new strategic framework. And that's what we're going to get about doing.
Q -- if there are problems with just testing the sea-based system. Do we also feel that testing a system, or creating a test site on land that could eventually be a site that's definitely in violation is okay until it becomes a site?
DR. RICE: That's not how we're thinking about this. We're thinking about this as trying to move from the restrictive framework in which we find ourselves, which is the ABM Treaty -- which is, I repeat, was intended to keep you from building ballistic missile defenses, so it's not surprising that it's restrictive -- moving from that framework to one that makes sense for this period of time.
And so this is not about lining in, lining out the ABM Treaty to try to get a little bit of flexibility to do this test or that test. We really believe that it's time for a transformation of this relationship. And that's what we're working with our allies on, working with the Russians on, and it's what Paul Wolfowitz testified with the Congress about.
Q Sorry to make you jump around. But if you could just clarify what you said about Argentina. It means that you don't support their request for a $15 billion line of credit from the U.S., but you would support a $5 billion IMF package? And secondly, I have a separate question on the UK.
DR. RICE: You'll get one, sure. I'll answer that first before the UK.
The Argentines have an IMF program that they're working, and that's what we're asking them, to work with the IMF on that program.
The important thing right now is to keep the focus on what the Argentines are focused on, which is trying to deal with the changes that they need to make in order to right and stabilize the financial and fiscal situation there. And that's what everybody is focused on right now.
You had a Britain question?
Q Do you expect the President to raise with Prime Minister Blair any Open Skies issues or any sort of issues related to Heathrow Airport and access for American firms?
DR. RICE: They may talk about just about anything. It's not clear to me that that would get raised.
Q Do you know the status of the joint early warning center in Moscow, and do you know if we have any U.S. officials there right now? And have discussions regarding that been strained at all with discussing the ABM Treaty?
DR. RICE: In fact, we think this joint early warning center is an opportunity to put into practice some of the notions that we have about cooperation. Obviously, nobody wants Russia or the United States to react to a warning mistake. And we believe that this has great promise.
Now, it has had some trouble getting off the ground because of a number of legal and other issues that we need to resolve with the Russians, but I hope that the Presidents could perhaps give a little bit of a push to getting some of the issues resolved so that this could become one of the elements of a cooperative missile defense program.
Q Dr. Rice, by next Tuesday, President Bush is going to have to decide on Helms-Burton. Are you concerned that if he should decide to go ahead and let the lawsuits go forward that might cast another shadow over the upcoming summit, because that would cause European nations to react angrily to the prospect of lawsuits?
DR. RICE: The President has made clear a couple of things, and that is that he very much wants to have a policy toward Cuba that he believes is reflective of the situation in Cuba. And so he said that he wants to keep the sanctions regime in place, he said that he wants to do some things, as he said, on Cuban Independence Day to try and make it possible for the Cuban people to begin to express themselves, including doing something about Radio and TV Marti and so forth.
We'll have to consider Helms-Burton. He has not yet made a decision. But I think that the context and -- whatever he does, the context just needs to be kept in mind here, which is the President fundamentally believes that until there is a change in regime in Cuba, until you have a regime that will permit free elections in Cuba, the United States clearly wants to have policies that reflect what is really happening to the Cuban people. But he has not made a determination on Helms-Burton just yet.
Q Dr. Rice, back on the ABM Treaty, what's in it for the Russians to allow us to, as you put it, go into this transformation -- there doesn't appear to be any intention on their part to build a sea-based system or a space-based system. So when the President meets with Mr. Putin, what do we give them that convinces them to let us do this?
DR. RICE: I would put this in the following way. We're talking about a transformation of the relationship. And in that, there is a lot for the Russians. To move from a relationship that was one of hostility with the Soviet Union, strained, abnormal, where the centerpiece was about how many warheads could dance on the head of an SS-18, to a relationship that looks, for instance, at broad economic cooperation, that looks at broad cooperation on security matters of common interest and, frankly, that gets the nuclear postures to something that is more in accordance with what we ought to be doing.
Just to give you an example, we are both keeping right now thousands of offensive warheads that we probably do not need. It's expensive, and for Russian defense dollars -- which are meager, to say the least -- and where they have other problems, to do that because you're trying to, in a sense, keep in a tightly-regulated bilateral relationship with the United States, makes no sense.
The Russians face a number of problems if proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technologies go to areas that are hostile to Russia, a number of which are on their borders, they're going to have some very serious problems. So we have a big, cooperative, important set of relations that we need to engage with, and the Russians, like normal countries do.
We need not to be so focused on continuing to manage our mutual balance of terror. And I think that's what the President is saying to them. What he's saying is, let's leave this behind. That's from an old relationship. Let's move both on the security framework and in the broad relationship, but especially in the broad relationship, to something that makes sense for two countries that are not enemies and have far different problems now than managing their bilateral nuclear terror. And we're hoping to have the Russians see that.
I should just add, nothing, as President Putin, himself, said, nothing that the United States is thinking of doing is going to actually threaten the Russian deterrent. So in many ways, this is a no-lose proposition for Russia.
Q Dr. Rice, on the Middle East, if I may, escalation today and Sharon talking about all-out war. I'm wondering whether the President regards those comments as helpful in the context of the Mitchell process, whether he regards the actions on the ground as proportionate to the threat the Israelis were facing, and what steps, if any, he's taking to try to moderate at this point?
DR. RICE: Well, we continue to work the issue through all of the mechanisms that we've put in place over the last several months. The security talks will hopefully go on, to try to deal with the near term security problems, and to try to improve that situation. And George Tenet has his people continuing over intervals to have security talks.
Secretary Powell is on the phone with the parties quite frequently. And the point that he is emphasizing is that it is important that neither side do anything to further inflame the situation. It is a very delicate situation. He also makes the point continually that we do need to get about moving through the Mitchell Committee Report recommendations. We believe that's the framework, and we're continuing to work within that framework.
And, yes, we talk to the parties all the time about trying to avoid
any actions that might be provocative and might therefore make the situation worse. But we talked to both sides about that.
Q Could you broadly describe the President's views for the purposes of the G-8? Former Clinton officials have described their approach as a group that would get together and develop a plan of action and go out and implement it. And they were speculating that President Bush may be taking more of an informal kind of approach to the body. I'd like to hear your views on that.
DR. RICE: Sure. Well, we really don't believe the world needs another permanent standing organization. There are a lot of them, and the members of the G-8 are interlocked and networked in most of those international organizations. And so what we have resisted is a kind of institutionalization with a large bureaucracy that tries to carry out whatever decisions and directions the G-7/G-8 tries to set.
And, rather, we have a view that this is a place for the leaders to get together to talk about a common agenda, to set some broad outlines, maybe even some programmatic outlines; but that there are many partners out there that can carry out a number of these strategies. You know, the World Bank is there to work on poverty alleviation. The U.N. General Assembly -- I'm sorry, the U.N. General Secretariat has taken the lead in establishing this trust fund, though obviously it has stakeholder not just from the G-7/G-8 we hope, but from a number of other countries, as well.
So I think -- I don't mean to try and draw a contrast with how the Clinton people saw this, just to state that for us, any institutionalization of this, where the G-8 has a large bureaucracy trying to carry out what the heads of state decided on any given day, we think would be superfluous, and given the number of organizations that are already out there, use those.
Q Dr. Rice, on Russia again, I think the biggest objection to the transition that you described, to a new strategic framework, is that it entirely depends on the goodwill of the United States. I think it's legitimate to want a new defense, a new offense, a new non-proliferation regime. But the only way to build it that would also build trust, which is the essential element here, is to do that through negotiation, to codify the process and the results.
So my question to you, is the United States willing to codify the process, to negotiate this, to come to new agreements, in writing, that would be proof to the world that these steps -- and also if you could speak a little bit about your own trip to Moscow, what you want to achieve from your meeting there?
DR. RICE: Of course. On the first point, it's not a question of the goodwill of the United States -- it's a question of the well being of all of us. And it is a quite abnormal situation to have security negotiated in the way that we did with the Soviet Union.
The reason that we negotiated that way with the Soviet Union was it was an implacably hostile relationship that was really at most levels zero-sum game. Frankly, we didn't have that much more to talk about. Almost every -- I can tell you, I was the Soviet specialist here, and I actually got concurrence on almost every issue because there was a kind of attitude, I think here and in Moscow, given the nature of the relationship, that if it was good for the Soviet Union, it was bad for the United States and vice-versa.
That's why we negotiated every war-head and every element of our security relationship. It was regulating a very hostile relationship. This is now a normal relationship between Russia and the United States where, yes, we will have some differences, but you know, we have differences with the British from time to time.
So it's an issue of moving quickly to the kind of relationship that we think is more appropriate. Now, there are lots of ways to build transparency into what we do on the defense side. We are a very open society. You know, with all due respect to all of you, if we tried to "hide something" it would show up in one of your papers pretty quickly.
So we're a very transparent society. But we're also more than prepared to talk to our counterparts, the Russians, the Chinese, others, about mechanisms to share information, to let people see what we're doing, to let people know what we're doing, because the limited defenses that we want to build, in the context of this new strategic framework, are aimed at countries that would blackmail us, countries that hate our values, countries that are try --- that would try to hold us hostage so that we could not have action, for instance against a Saddam Hussein.
That's not Russia. And so we believe that it's time to move beyond that framework. We are open as to the forum that this finally takes, but I can tell you that we really do believe that it's time to leave behind this really rather abnormal way of doing business.
Q You didn't answer his question. Are we willing to negotiate and codify?
DR. RICE: What I've said, Helen, is there's a good reason not to get into 15-year negotiations, which is what it has taken to create arms control treaties. If you've ever looked at arms control treaties, you're talking about trying to dot every "i" and cross every "t," because there was no reason to have any trust in this relationship. It was implacably hostile and it was abnormal from the point of view of the way international relations is normally done.
Q You're saying it's not necessary.
DR. RICE: I'm saying it's not necessary, that's correct.
Q On your own trip?
DR. RICE: Oh, my own trip, sorry. Yes, as you know, a number of my counterparts have visited here, including my then counterpart Sergei Ivanov. I am going to go to Russia. I haven't actually been in a little over a year. I think it's a good time to go, to talk to my counterparts, to talk to some members of the Russian leadership about how we can advance the agenda. But it's a very -- unfortunately, a very short trip. But I think it will just give me a chance to get a feel for it.
Q What message will the President take to the G-8 regarding the Kyoto protocol, in light of the Bonn summit going on at the same time?
DR. RICE: The President will be more than happy to discuss climate change at the G-7/G-8. He believes that he's made clear that we do not think that the Kyoto protocol is the way to go forward, but that he is absolutely committed to the overall objectives of Kyoto, which is to try to do something about the climate change problem.
We have a number of initiatives that he laid out before he left for Europe that are starting to move through the system. I think we will probably be able to say something about where some of those stand. And he wants to continue the conversation that he started in Europe the last time, about mechanisms for cooperation, ways that we might cooperate to advance the concern that we all have about the climate change issue.
So I'm sure it will come up. I should just mention, it's also begun to come up with a number of developing countries, who are interested in not Kyoto, because for them this would not keep the link between growth and the environment, but on how they might make steps on climate management now, so that we don't have a looming problem down the road.
Q I'm just wondering, you've met a lot of Russian leaders in your time, Soviet leaders. What's your personal impression of Vladimir Putin? How does he compare?
DR. RICE: It's a good question. I found -- let me just say, I found the meeting remarkable. You're right, I have been in a lot of meetings with Russian leaders. I found it, first of all, conversational. Not one person gives a monologue and then the other person gives a monologue. And with all due respect to prior leaders, I think that was a little bit the way that it went.
And this was conversational, with the two men talking back and forth. I found it -- the meeting to be quite straightforward. They didn't try to pull any punches. There wasn't an effort to try to make the other guy believe that you believed something when you didn't. But it was all in a friendly and mutually respectful way. And the conversations were not philosophical in the grand sense. Although they did talk some about their joint interest in history, and so forth, they really talked about pretty concrete problems on the agenda. And I found it quite straightforward. It was, in that sense, a very remarkable meeting.
Q Did you find him trustworthy? The President talked about feeling that he was trustworthy. I'm wondering, your personal impression of him --
DR. RICE: The President is someone who takes people at face value until he's proven differently. And I think that's really the best way for people to do this. I found him straightforward. I believe that he is someone who is deeply concerned about his country and wants to make it a better place.
What we need to do is to convince Russia that this broad new relationship that I was describing is going to be a context in which they can advance that set of goals. We're saying it's not the 19th century. The way to be a great power in the 21st century is to have an economy that attracts investment; is to have an economy that's not just an oil producer, but takes advantage of the creativity of your own people.
Russia should be dominating the information revolution, given the strength of science and math in Russia. And we should be saying, the 21st century is a time in which you have trade relations with your neighbors, you don't intimidate them. And it's a time where freedoms for your people -- freedom of the press, freedom of assembly -- go together with entrepreneurship and creativity to make you a really modern state.
I think that that's a very interesting conversation to have with Russia, and I think that it's a conversation to which Mr. Putin is willing to listen.
Q Will Bush accept his offer to cut nuclear warheads by 10,000?
DR. RICE: The President has already said that he is going the look at lowering the numbers of offensive nuclear weapons for the United States to a level that is consistent with our own security requirements, and doesn't try to get into a one-to-one match with the Russians.
Q Thank you.
END 11:08 A.M. EDT