Q Can I ask you about this sort of -- you mentioned President Putin coming to Kennebunkport last year. If I remember correctly, last year he said he wanted to create a joint system with Russia , the United States and Europe . He offered very specific ideas about it. And he said today there was no breakthrough. So why is today any different than what happened in Kennebunkport?
MR. HADLEY: I beg to differ, and if you look at what is in the statement, to which was agreed in the presence of the two leaders, it says, "The Russian side has made clear that it does not agree with the decision to establish sites in Poland and the Czech Republic , and it reiterated its proposed alternative."
They have not -- they are still unhappy with those two sites, we know that, yet it appreciates the measures that the U.S. has proposed -- these are the confidence building and transparency measures -- and declared that if agreed and implemented, such measures will be important and useful in assuaging Russian concerns.
So we have a mechanism for assuaging their concerns about the Czech Republic and Poland , but more to the point, we have in the first paragraph a commitment with both sides expressing an interest in creating a system for responding to potential missile threats, in which Russia , United States and Europe will participate in equal partners. And in our view, our view, still to be worked with the Russians, what they have offered and what we are doing with the Czech and Polish republics can be elements of that broader architecture, all of that to be determined. I think that is a real progress on the missile defense issue.
What he said when he said no breakthrough is, their position remains to be that at this point, they still have concerns about the Polish and Czech site. But as they point out, we believe and they believe that we're on the path towards assuaging those concerns, and putting that in a context of a broader cooperation on theater missile defense. And interestingly, Putin volunteered it ought to be part of a broader cooperation on missile defense between the United States and Russia globally.
Q He said he was positive about the concessions that you talked about, when Secretaries Gates and Rice visited in Moscow . So what's changed then this weekend? What did this weekend do to move that beyond that meeting?
MR. HADLEY: What we got this weekend is what we did not have before, which is a recognition and statement by the Russians that those transparency and confidence building measures would, if finally agreed and implemented, assuage Russia's concerns about our facilities there. We did not have that before. We also did not have the President of the Republic and the President of the United States agreeing to developing a system for responding to missile defense in which we, Europe and Russia would participate as equals. He did not have that commitment before. And what we also got, surprisingly, was interest by President Putin in U.S.-Russian cooperation at the global level. All needs to be worked out with details by the experts on the two sides. This will be a long road. But I think we can say that the two countries got on the road today.
MR. HADLEY: There's going to be a lot of discussion, there's going to be a lot of discussion to develop the details on these transparency and confidence building measures; they're going to have to be done in a way that are reciprocal, that are acceptable to the Czechs and the Poles. You know, there's a lot of details that need to be worked out. But I think the course was set by the two leaders today.
Q So do you think that it will be achieved during this presidency?
MR. HADLEY: I don't know. I don't think that matters. What matters is that the two Presidents have reached an agreement to set our two countries on the path for cooperation here. And they can leave that to their respective successors. That's real progress.
Q Can you talk about the issue of permanent inspectors that I think President Putin mentioned? How important is that, and how difficult is that?