"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Bush, Putin Have Wide-Ranging Discussion in Moscow
Middle East, North Korea, Russian reform on agenda, say Rice, Lavrov
Prospects for peace in the Middle East were at the top of the agenda during a meeting in Moscow on May 8 between President Bush and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during their short briefing to the press after the meeting.
Rice noted that a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Middle East Quartet (composed of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations) was scheduled the following day, and the Bush-Putin meeting offered "some guidance" for that event. "We focused a lot on the upcoming withdrawal of the Israelis from the Gaza," the secretary said, adding that the two leaders "are very concerned about the Palestinian situation and other situations in which terrorism could undermine the chances for peace."
Following is the official transcript of Secretary Rice's and Foreign Minister Lavrov's remarks after the two presidents' meeting:
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
May 8, 2005
Press Briefing by
Secretary Rice and Russian Federation Foreign Minister Lavrov
on The Meeting with President Bush and President Putin
MINISTER LAVROV: Good evening. I would like to say that at the talks that have just taken place between the U.S. and the Russian Presidents, they discussed bilateral and international issues. As far as the international issues are concerned, the focus was on the situation in the Middle East, with regard to which we have very close positions. We expect a lot from the Quartet ministerial meeting that will take place tomorrow.
SECRETARY RICE: I have very little to add to what the Minister has said. The two Presidents did talk in a very open way about the many issues around the world. I would just underscore that we spent a good deal of time on the Middle East, and I think that we have some guidance for our Quartet meeting tomorrow. We focused a lot on the upcoming withdrawal of the Israelis from the Gaza, and the need to fully support Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as they prepare for that withdrawal.
And on terrorism, I think to underscore that they talked about the need -- that one cannot flirt with terrorism or with terrorists, I think was really the essential issue here, because they are very concerned about the Palestinian situation and other situations in which terrorism could undermine the chances for peace. And we promised to consult on the needs of the Palestinian security forces for training and equipping.