Press Briefing by The National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley

SOCHI, Russia , April 6, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of remarks by The National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley . 6:51 A.M. EDT MR. HADLEY: This has been a fascinating trip and a very...


Interestingly, Russia uses the occasion of President Putin's coming to Bucharest to announce an arrangement which will facilitate the movement of non-military supplies into Afghanistan , and the prospect, I think, of greater cooperation between Russia and Afghanistan . As you heard in the comments by Defense Minister Wardak here in the last day or two. So I think real progress on the issue of Afghanistan . Again, both with the NATO Alliance and with Russia .

Finally, enlargement. A real question, I think, going into the summit, as to whether the issue of a MAP program, a Membership Action Plan for Ukraine and Georgia would split the NATO Alliance and cause a dust-up and confrontation with President Putin; some speculation that if NATO took a positive leaning position on MAP for Ukraine and Georgia that maybe President Putin wouldn't even be able to come to Bucharest , would decide not to come, and that the Sochi meeting would be a contentious one.

Again, we were able to, in a really remarkably informal and open process in the NATO Alliance, reach an agreement that makes it clear that Georgia and Ukraine's future is member of NATO -- that is clear -- and that NATO supports a Membership Action Plan and a mechanism for that decision to be made going forward.

Putin, nonetheless, does come to Bucharest . He is very candid and straightforward in his reservations about MAP, but it's delivered in temperate language, clearly in the context of where he wants to be constructive, in terms of future relations between Russia and the NATO Council. And as you saw in the press conference today, it did not in any way poison the Sochi meeting, in any way.

President Putin has been very clear on his views, but was able to do business in Bucharest with NATO and was able to do business in Sochi with the President of the United States .

Finally, I think a lot of people expected -- or did not know what to expect when the President came to Sochi. And I think, as you saw, this was a -- very well demonstrated in the press conference -- this was a President Putin that wanted to be constructive, and a President Bush that wanted to be constructive. Both of them wanted to pull together in one document the areas of which we are cooperating, which I think if you read the documents, it will be clear that they are both broad and deep. They wanted to pull that document together. They wanted to see if we could resolve some outstanding issues that have divided us. I think they succeeded in terms of a way ahead on missile defense. And I think they each wanted to have a firm foundation for the U.S.- Russian relationship to hand off to their successors, who President Bush was able to meet today on the Russian side with Dmitry Medvedev , and which of course will be decided in our elections.

So a very, I think, positive day for U.S.-Russian relations as providing a firm foundation going forward. That doesn't mean we don't have disagreements. Some of the issues President Putin made referred to concerns about future political progress in Russia , what the new administration's view will be about democracy and all the things we're concerned about, but a framework in which these two successors -- the successor Presidents will be able to deal with these issues.

And finally, in terms of personal relations, I think it was a very warm and a little nostalgic meeting between the two Presidents. I think the President noted that it is probable that other than Tony Blair , he's probably met with Vladimir Putin more than any other foreign leader. As he said, those -- and as President Putin said, those have been frank conversations, some have gone well, some have been quite frank. They were not able to reach agreement on all areas, but they were able to define areas of cooperation where our interests converge, and while being frank about areas of disagreement, not let them get in the way of the cooperation where it was possible. That is a, I think, a remarkable accomplishment by these two men. I think they've been good stewards of the U.S.- Russia relationship. And it depended heavily, I think, on their personal relationship, as you saw today.

And I think with that, I would stop.