U.S. President George W. Bush said he hoped to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that their dispute over a U.S. missile defense system is not an issue "to be hyperventilating about."
Bush and Putin, who are attending a summit of the world's eight major industrialized democracies, are meeting for the first time since their dispute over putting a U.S. missile defense system in eastern Europe flared into Cold War-style rhetoric.
"I'm looking forward to my meeting with Vladimir Putin," Bush said.
The U.S. president said he hopes to ease Russia's fears that the shield is planned to block future Iranian nuclear missiles, not Russian ones.
"A missile defense system cannot stop multilaunch regimes" such as Russia, Bush said following a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Bush said he would assure Putin that the missile defense system is aimed a "a rogue regime" - not Russia.
"I will reiterate the proposal I made: Send your generals to the U.S., send your officials to the U.S., and hopefully that will clear things up," he said.
Bush and Blair also discussed global warming, but Bush did not back down from his opposition to setting specific reductions for greenhouse gas emissions.
Standing at Blair's side along the Baltic Sea, Bush was wistful about their last meeting as fellow world leaders.
"It's a nostalgic moment for me," Bush said. "I'm sorry it's come to be. But that's what happens in life."
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