The recent APEC summit became the event at which Russian President Dmitry Medvedev could have the last meeting with outgoing US President George W. Bush.
There was no time for Mr. Medvedev to meet Mr. Bush at the G20 summit in Washington. The meeting of the two leaders was scheduled to take place at the summit of APEC leaders in Lima, Peru. The meeting was held on a friendly note, according to officials’ comments. The thorny subject of the US-Russian relations – the missile defense issue – was not raised at the meeting at all. The question was discussed by Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice instead. One of the members of the Russian delegation said that the US side gave to understand that the problem connected with Ukraine would remain even after the new administration took office in the White House. The views of the two countries regarding the issue of Georgia’s territorial integrity did not become closer either.
Russia ’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the two presidents acknowledged their discrepancies, although they both agreed that the two countries should not hung up on such problems. "I've tried to work hard to make it a cordial relationship... so that when we need to work together we can, and when we disagree were able to do so in a way that is respectful to our two nations," said the US president.
"Though we do have points of agreement and those points of real differences... we are prepared for continuous work and I view that, in general our work was successful.” Russia’s Medvedev said. Medvedev added that Moscow would always be glad to welcome Bush even when he steps down as the US president.
Both Russian and US presidents agreed that the struggle against Somali pirates appears to have become a new problem for many countries of the world. The two leaders said that Russia, the EU and the US should become actively involved in the solution of the problem.
The APEC summit was presumably devoted to the consequences of the global financial crisis. The crisis, as the Pacific Rim leaders believe, will last for 18 months and will continue to aggravate in the beginning of the new year too. The global economic setback can lead to protective measures that can only make the current economic situation worse, the APEC leaders said in their joint statement. That it why it was decided not to create new barriers for investment or trade during the forthcoming 12 months.
In Lima, Dmitry Medvedev conducted talks with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso. The latter reminded Medvedev of the problem of the Kurile Islands. The talks revealed nothing new, although the Russian leader emphasized that he was ready to continue the discussion on the matter.