The meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States within the framework of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, may become a meeting of historical significance, specialists say. July 7 may become the start date of the new Cold War in the world if the meeting between Putin and Bush ends with worst results possible. The Times wrote in its recent article that the situation may aggravate even further, and the world may find itself on the brink of not just the cold, but the real war.
It was originally believed that the G8 summit would be entirely devoted to issues of climate change, regulation of Middle East conflicts and the future of Kosovo. However, observers point out that the growing tension in the US-Russian relations has pushed those issues into the background.
President Putin has recently given an interview to leading media outlets from the Group of Eight member-countries. Putin clarified Moscow’s stance on the most important questions of present-day policies. Putin particularly specified that Russia was forced to declare a moratorium on the Conventional Arms Treaty in Europe under the circumstances when Russia reduces its arms single-handedly, whereas its European partners inundate their territory with up-to-date defense systems.
Washington ’s intention to deploy air defense systems in the Czech Republic and Poland may eventually result in the appearance of the US nuclear potential on the European continent, which obviously changes the entire structure of international security, Putin said.
George W. Bush stated on his visit to Prague that Putin’s Russia derailed democratic reforms in the country. According to Bush, the US administration will continue to show pressure on Russia at this point.
Putin and Bush saw each other Wednesday night for the first time since their dispute over putting a U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe flared into Cold War-style rhetoric and sent Russia-U.S. relations sliding to their lowest point in decades. The two presidents are attending a summit of the G-8, the world's eight major industrialized democracies, which opened with an evening of cocktails, dinner and entertainment with spouses at a rural manor.
Putin next month will become the first world leader during Bush's presidency to come to the Bush family's summer compound on the Maine coast. The two - once so close in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks - last met in November, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Bush was beginning his day with a farewell meeting with departing British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair, the president's closest ally in Europe, is holding out hope that he can bridge an impasse between Bush and some of the other countries over climate change. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as summit host, is pushing for specific, binding targets for reducing carbon emissions; Bush is against them.
In between, Bush and the other leaders planned to discuss issues ranging from Africa aid to trade and Lebanon, the AP reports.
The rhetoric began this year when the U.S. chose the Czech Republic and Poland as the missile defense sites and roused Russian suspicions. Bush is visiting both countries on his eight-day European trip. He has insisted the shield is planned to block any future Iranian nuclear missiles, not Russian ones.
Putin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said these were "insufficient explanations" and promised "uncomfortable consequences," such as possible missile retargeting, if the shield is deployed "next to our borders" without more acceptable ones.
But, he added: "Russia is the last country in this world who is thinking about confrontation or starting another Cold War."
Prepared by Dmitry Sudakov