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Bush, Putin Ratify Strategic Arms Treaty

Bush, Putin Complete Ratification of Strategic Arms Treaty

(Stress commitment to work together on global challenges)

President Bush and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, at a joint press briefing in St. Petersburg June 1 following a 45 minute meeting, said they had just exchanged instruments for the ratification for the Treaty of Moscow. The two had signed the treaty, to reduce deployable nuclear warheads on both sides by about two-thirds by 2012, in May 2002. The U.S. Senate approved the treaty earlier this year, and the Russian Parliament ratified it in May.

The treaty, Bush said, "will reduce both our nuclear arsenals to the lowest level in decades" and "reflects the new strategic relationship that is emerging between our nations."

Putin said "We've just signed and exchanged instruments of ratification of the Russian-U.S. treaty on strategic reductions. The treaty has come into force. Yet again, we've demonstrated that the United States and Russia are two champions of the mutually advantageous cooperation on the basis of partnership, openness, and transparency.

"Such a declaration is also conducive to greater strategic stability and international security," Putin said.

"We are working closely to confront the challenges of our time," Bush said. "Both of our countries have suffered greatly at the hands of terror, and our governments are taking actions against this threat."

The United States and Russia, Bush said, are "determined to meet the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. We strongly urge North Korea to visibly, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear weapons program. We are concerned about Iran's advanced nuclear program and urge Iran to comply in full with its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty."

On Iraq, Bush said he appreciates Russia's recent support for lifting U.N. sanctions on that country and he said Putin agreed that the United Nations must play "a vital role" in Iraq's reconstruction.

The "fundamentals between the United States and Russia turned out to be stronger than the forces and events that tested it," Putin said.

Russia opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq, but both leaders said they were putting the dispute behind them.

Putin said his meeting with Bush "is taking place at a very crucial juncture of the development of the world, where very dangerous and complex events develop. This current summit meeting yet again confirmed the fact that there is no alternative for the cooperation between Russia and the United States, both in terms of ensuring our domestic national agendas and in terms of cooperation for the sake of enhanced international strategic stability."

Putin said he agreed with Bush "to continue our efforts in terms of enhancing international stability, fight against terrorism, and ensuring better strategic stability. We also agreed to continue our bilateral cooperation in the area of economy and other fields."

"Our relationship is broad," Bush added. "We greatly appreciate Russia's support of the International Space Station following the loss of our space shuttle Columbia. We are committed to continue to work together for the good of the world.

"President Putin and I have agreed to expand and strengthen high-level contacts and communications between our two governments. I invited the President to come to the United States for a visit in September to visit at Camp David."


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