Putin "Satisfied" after Talks with Bush

US President George W. Bush (R) leaves a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) at the Bush family compound at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine, July 2, 2007. (AFP Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said here Tuesday he was pleased with the outcome of talks with his US counterpart George W. Bush aimed at defusing tensions between their two countries.

Before arriving in Guatemala, Putin held informal talks with the US president Sunday and Monday at Bush's family retreat in Kennenbunkport, Maine, to ease months of rancor reminiscent of the Cold War.

The Russian leader said he was "satisfied with the tone and results" of his meeting with Bush.

Putin noted that the two had discussed the contentious US missile defense plan for central Europe, Iran's nuclear ambitions and the future of the Serbian province of Kosovo.

In a bid to resolve one of the most contentious issues dividing them, Putin proposed broadening the US missile defense plan in Europe by bringing NATO into the project.

While Bush welcomed the idea as "very constructive and bold," the US president checked Putin by insisting that the Czech Republic and Poland must remain "integral" to the system.

"The foreign ministers will continue talking on specific issues, (including) on the restriction of strategic weapons," Putin said at a news conference alongside Guatemalan counterpart Oscar Berger.

After the Bush-Putin talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US counterpart Condoleezza Rice began talks on reducing their nations' nuclear arsenals before the expiration in 2009 of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Putin arrived in Guatemala City after his meeting with Bush to promote Russia's bid to host the 2014 Winter Games. The International Olympic Committee will announce the winning venue here Wednesday.

The committee must pick between the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Pyeongchang in South Korea and the Austrian city of Salzburg.

Putin also held talks with Berger on trade and energy.

Source: AFP

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