Putin Pushes Kennebunkport Follow-up
July 31, 2007 • 6:50PM

At yesterday's Russian Government meeting with President Vladimir Putin, the President received a report from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the status of the talks between American and Russian experts on anti-missile cooperation, agreed upon during his visit to President George Bush and his father at Kennebunkport at the beginning of the month. According to the Kremlin website, Lavrov said that the July 30-31 discussions (led on the Russian side by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak) were to be the first of "two or three" such sessions, before the 2 + 2 meeting of the two countries' foreign and defense ministers, which he said would take place in early October. Then a report to Putin and Bush will be produced.

Lavrov said that the missile defense question was also discussed last week at the Russia-NATO Council, "where there was substantial interest in our proposals and readiness to discuss them." At Kennebunkport, Putin had proposed to broaden the discussion, bringing in more participants through the Russia-NATO Council. Putin added yesterday, "These two processes need to be combined," rather than there being separate missile defense talks with the USA and with NATO. Lavrov replied, "That is anticipated. The contacts between our interagency [Defense and Foreign Ministries] delegations, agreed on at Kennebunkport, will be completed in the next two months. In parallel, we are informing the Europeans about our approach, with the aim of bringing this whole process together in a single agreement."