Skip to comments.Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia at the U.S.-Russia Business Summit
Posted on 06/25/2010 3:42:17 AM PDT by Cindy
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Speeches & Remarks
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 24, 2010
Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia at the U.S.-Russia Business Summit
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
3:08 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, good afternoon, everybody. It is a pleasure to be here with my friend and partner, President Medvedev, and I want to thank him again for his leadership, especially his vision for an innovative Russia thats modernizing its economy, including deeper economic ties between our two countries.
I want to thank the leaders who are guiding the discussion today -- my Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Minister Nabiullina. I always have a little trouble with that one. (Laughter.) They say the same thing about Obama. (Laughter.)
We are joined by our United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, and our great ambassadors John Beyrle and Sergey Kislyak.
And I want to also thank the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-Russia Business Council, the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow, and all the organizations who helped bring our countries together not just today but every day.
Many of you joined us at the business summit during my visit to Moscow one year ago, and it is good to see you again. I noted then that youre part of a long tradition of commerce and trade between our peoples. Long before Russia and the United States even exchanged ambassadors, we exchanged goods.
In fact, before coming to Washington, President Medvedev visited California and Silicon Valley to explore new partnerships in science and technology and in venture capital. And while there, he pledged Russias support to preserve the historic Fort Ross in Sonoma County -- an enduring reminder of the early Russian settlements and trade that brought Russian goods to our young nation.
Some have even wondered whether our Declaration of Independence may have been signed with goose quills from Russia. More than 200 years later, its a sign of the times that during his visit to Silicon Valley, President Medvedev opened his own Twitter account. I have one as well. And I said during our press conference today that we may be able to finally get rid of those old red phones. (Laughter.)
As we all know, despite the surge in trade in recent years, the economic relationship between the United States and Russia is still largely one of untapped potential. And I pointed out last year that our trade with Russia is only about the same as our trade with Thailand -- a country with less than half the population of Russia. So obviously theres more work to do.
Thats why part of the reset of the U.S.-Russia relationship required us creating the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Partnership Commission -- Presidential Commission -- to explore a whole range of new opportunities, including economic partnerships that create jobs and opportunities for both our peoples. And under Secretary Locke and Minister Nabiullinas leadership, thats what we have done.
Companies represented here today are moving forward with a series of major trade and investment deals that will create jobs for both Americans and Russians across many sectors, from aerospace, to automotive engineering, to the financial sector and high-technology.
I am especially pleased that Boeing and Russian Technologies are moving forward with a $4 billion deal on 50 Boeing 737s. This is a win for Russia, creating a long-term market for its raw materials and resulting in modern airplanes for Russias travelers.
Its obviously a win for the United States, because this partnership could add up to 44,000 new jobs in the American aerospace industry. This reflects my administrations National Export Initiative, and its a perfect example of the shared prosperity - and the high-tech jobs that we can create together.
So today, President Medvedev and I agreed to expand trade and commerce even further. We agreed to deepen our collaboration on energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. We reached an agreement that will allow the United States to begin exporting our poultry products to Russia once again. Chicken is important. (Laughter.)
I want to again thank President Medvedev and his team for resolving this issue, which is an important signal about Russias seriousness about achieving membership in the World Trade Organization. And thats why I told President Medvedev that our teams should accelerate their efforts to work together to complete this process in the very near future.
I believe that Russia belongs in the WTO. Thats good for Russia. Its good for America. And it is good for the world economy.
I pledged to President Medvedev that the United States wants to be Russias partner as he pursues his vision of modernization and innovation in Russia, including his initiative to create a Russian Silicon Valley outside of Moscow. American companies and universities were among the first to invest in this effort. And Im pleased that a number of you here today are going to be working with it as well.
Now, theres still a lot more that we can do to encourage trade and investment. And obviously in Russia -- and President Medvedev and I discussed this -- issues of transparency and accountability and rule of law remain absolutely critical. This is the foundation on which investments and economic growth depends. And I very much appreciate and applaud President Medvedevs efforts in this area.
Today, we took another step forward. Our two governments are making a joint commitment to open government that fosters transparency and combats the corruption that stifles economic growth.
Of course, ultimately, its you - the private sector, our entrepreneurs - who create jobs and unleash economic growth. Its the market thats been the most powerful force in history for creating opportunity and prosperity. Its not the resources we pump or pull from the ground. Its the imagination and the creativity of our people, our workers, and their dreams for themselves and their children that ultimately drives the modern economy.
Last year in Moscow, I learned a Russian proverb, which says, Every seed knows its time. A year ago, we planted a seed of cooperation and commerce. And today, that cooperation is bearing fruit -- with new partnerships and prosperity for both our peoples. And I think that if we stay on the course that were on, with a spirit of mutual respect and mutual interest, we are going to make even more progress, sell more goods, create more jobs, get more cross-border financing than ever before.
So, President Medvedev, welcome. Thank you to all the business people who are visiting here from Russia and your ministers. Thank you for your vision and your determination to continue to move us towards a brighter vision of our future.
PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV: (As translated.) Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, its been a year since we met in order to discuss affairs -- business affairs, and a lot of water has flown from the time, as we used to day.
There are certain moments that distinguish this meeting from the meeting in Moscow. First of all, it is much hotter here, so it is more difficult to work.
At the same time, we are all seated and back in Moscow, we were standing with Presidents. So it is easier to work. And this isnt a significant difference, but speaking in serious term, during this year, we have changed a lot. The world economy has changed. And we were working very hard in order to improve the situation in our national economy in order to re-launch failed mechanisms in international economy. And certain persons present here just worked to save their businesses. In general, we managed to do so, although we did have problems.
Today we discussed different issues with President. After that -- after my visit to the Congress, Ill fly to G20. And tomorrow we are willing to continue discussing economic issues during the G8 summit, and later on during the G20 summit. We will think on how to build our future.
And our future depends to a great extent on our bilateral relations and on relations our countries have with other partners, and on relations between the U.S. and Russia.
The agenda that I had in the U.S. was very interesting, very intensive. For the first time in my practice, I visited not only the capital or New York, but I also visited California. And I was deeply impressed by what I saw there. Part of my delegation accompanied me. Part of the delegation witnessed how business is organized in the Silicon Valley.
We have things to learn from that experience; I already said that during the press conference. And I hope that this context will provide for better opportunities to implement our agenda that we proposed for our economy, to modernize our economy in accordance with five presidential priorities: first, medicine; energy efficiency; nuclear technologies; computer technologies; and outer space programs.
We are creating a new center of innovative developments in Skolkovo, outside of Moscow. And I think that the U.S. experience, we will be able to apply this experience in our country, of course, introducing necessary changes.
And Im very grateful to the U.S. businessmen who expressed their desire to work in this direction and adopted a series of decisions. We value this very much and we will be thinking how to create the most favorable, most protected conditions for such work.
Speaking about our Silicon Valley, about the Skolkovo project, we in Russia adopted an unprecedented measure. We established a special legal framework -- I adopted a special law and were going to apply tax facilitation and also introduce a number of regimes to provide for better conditions of work. We are convinced that the U.S.-Russia economic potential is great.
At the same time, due to the crisis and to the difficulties which we had in our relations a certain time ago, this potential has not been tapped. And the volume of investments do not respond to what we need. It is evident that we want this volume to grow -- both investments of the United States into Russia and vice versa, because its not a one-way road. The economy is global, and we most create reasonable rules of -- and assist each other to overcome different difficulties.
Recently we signed a series of documents -- we recently held an economic forum in Russia and signed documents between U.S. and Russian companies. Here we signed agreements as well. This is a good sign. I am convinced that in the future with my friend and partner, President Barack Obama, we will control this process, we will assist this process, because to my mind, this is a very important element of our interstate relations.
We will work personally and in the framework of the Presidential Commission established a while ago, but we also pin our hopes on the U.S.-Russia Business Dialogue established two years ago. We have representatives of this dialogue in this hall, and Im very pleased that we are interacting on this topic and that eventually our joint projects will help us to overcome the difficulties threatening our economies, the world economy.
We still have to do a lot -- to do a lot internationally and to do a lot with respect to our national legislations. President Obama is doing great work. We understand how difficult this work is because each solution has both persons who are in favor and who are against. But it is evident that the world economy and the world itself has changed. And we will have to change the rules, although everybody present in this hall are committed to modern economic approaches and are committed to a free market.
At the same time, we should understand that the 21st century has come, and therefore take into consideration the global economic processes. Our cooperation should develop every year. I believe that our cooperation is very promising, and its very good that we met here again to discuss the future of U.S.-Russia business relations. Thank you.
END 3:22 P.M. EDT
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Speeches & Remarks
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 24, 2010
Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia at Joint Press Conference
2:07 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. Please be seated. Dobryy Den. After many meetings around the world, Im delighted to welcome my friend and partner, President Medvedev, to the White House.
This is also an opportunity to return the wonderful hospitality that the President, Mrs. Medvedeva, and the Russian people showed me and my family during our visit to Moscow one year ago. Michelle and I enjoyed a wonderful evening at the Presidents home. Our daughters will never forget having tea in the Winter Garden of the Kremlin. And, Mr. President, I hope youll remember having a burger at Rays Hells [sic] Burger today. (Laughter.)
We just concluded some excellent discussions - discussions that would have been unlikely just 17 months ago. As weve both said before, when I came into office, the relationship between the United States and Russia had drifted - perhaps to its lowest point since the Cold War. There was too much mistrust and too little real work on issues of common concern. That did not serve the interests of either country or the world. Indeed, I firmly believe that Americas most significant national security interests and priorities could be advanced most effectively through cooperation, not an adversarial relationship, with Russia.
Thats why I committed to resetting the relationship between our two nations, and in President Medvedev Ive found a solid and reliable partner. We listen to one another and we speak candidly. So, Mr. President, Im very grateful for your leadership and your partnership.
By any measure, we have made significant progress and achieved concrete results. Together, we negotiated and signed the historic New START Treaty, committing our nations to significant reductions in deployed nuclear weapons. Today, we reaffirmed our commitment to work to ratify this treaty as soon as possible so it can enter into force and set the stage for further cuts and cooperation.
Together, weve strengthened the global nonproliferation regime so that as we meet our obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, other nations meet theirs and are held accountable if they dont.
Along with our international partners, we passed and are enforcing new U.N sanctions against North Korea. We offered Iran the prospect of a better future, and when they refused, we joined with Russia and our partners on the Security Council to impose the toughest sanctions ever faced by the government of Iran.
Together, our nations have deepened our cooperation against violent extremism, as terrorists threaten both our people, be it in Times Square or in Moscow. And today weve agreed to expand our cooperation on intelligence and counterterrorism. Russian transit routes now play a vital role in supplying American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. And to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons, we came together at our Nuclear Security Summit, where our two nations made numerous commitments, including agreeing to eliminate enough plutonium for about 17,000 nuclear weapons.
Together, weve coordinated our efforts to strengthen the global economic recovery through the G20 - work that we will continue in Toronto this weekend. And today we agreed to continue closely to coordinate our diplomatic and humanitarian efforts following the tragic outbreak of ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan.
Our two countries continue to disagree on certain issues, such as Georgia, and we addressed those differences candidly. But by moving forward in areas where we do agree, we have succeeding in resetting our relationship, which benefits regional and global security. This includes, I would note, a change in the attitudes among the Russian people, who today have a far more favorable view of the United States, and that, in turn, creates more space for additional partnership.
Indeed, this has been the real focus of our work today and of President Medvedevs visit — not simply resetting our relationship, but also broadening it. Because 20 years after the end of the Cold War, the U.S.-Russian relationship has to be about more than just security and arms control. It has to be about our shared prosperity and what we can build together.
Thats why we created the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission during my visit to Moscow last year — to forge new partnerships, not just between governments, but between our businesses, our peoples and our societies. And today we agreed to forge new cooperation across a whole range of areas.
In particular, were expanding trade and commerce. We agreed to deepen our collaboration on energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. And this afternoon, President Medvedev and I will join American and Russian business leaders as they move forward with a series of major trade and investment deals that will create jobs for Americans and Russians across many sectors, from aerospace and automotive engineering to the financial sector and high technology. Consistent with my administrations National Export Initiative, this includes the sale of 50 Boeing aircraft — worth $4 billion — that could add up to 44,000 new jobs in the American aerospace industry.
To deepen Russias integration into the global economy, I reaffirmed our strong commitment to Russias ascension to the World Trade Organization. Today weve reached an agreement that will allow the United States to begin exporting our poultry products to Russia once again. And I want to thank President Medvedev and his team for resolving this issue, which is of such importance to American business, and which sends an important signal about Russias seriousness about achieving membership in the WTO.
Therefore, I told President Medvedev that our teams should accelerate their efforts to work together to complete this process in the very near future. Russia belongs in the WTO. Thats good for Russia, its good for America, and its good for the world economy.
I appreciated very much the opportunity to hear President Medvedevs vision for modernization in Russia, especially high-tech innovation. This is a personal passion of the President. And during his visit to Silicon Valley this week, he visited the headquarter of Twitters [sic], where he opened his own account. I have one as well, so we may be able to finally throw away those red phones that have been sitting around for so long. (Laughter.)
American companies and universities were among the first to invest in President Medvedevs initiative to create a Russian Silicon Valley outside Moscow, and more are announcing new investments today.
Mr. President, the United States will be your partner as you promote the transparency and accountability and rule of law thats needed to infuse this spirit of innovation throughout your economy.
Were deepening partnerships between our societies. As they did during our meeting in Moscow, leaders from civil society groups — Russian and American - are meeting here in Washington to explore new ways to cooperate in education and health, human rights and combating corruption. And in the spirit of President Medvedevs visit, theyre placing a special focus on how new technologies can improve their work.
Finally, I would simply add that the new partnership between our people spans the spectrum, from space to science to sports. I think, President, you’re aware that recently I welcomed to the White House a group of young Russian basketball players - both boys and girls - who were visiting the United States. We went on the White House basketball court, and I have to admit some of them out-shot me. (Laughter.) They represented the hope for the future that brings our countries together.
Those were the same hopes of another generation of Americans and Russians — the generation that stood together as allies in the Second World War - the Great Patriotic War in which the Russian people suffered and sacrificed so much. We recently marked the 65th anniversary of our shared victory in that war, including that historic moment when American and Soviet troops came together in friendship at the Elbe River in Germany.
A reporter who was there at that time, all those years ago, said: If there is a fine, splendid world in the future, it will largely be because the United States and Russia get on well together. If it is in trouble, it will be because they dont get on well. Its as simple as that.
Mr. President, the decades that followed saw many troubles — too many troubles. But 65 years later, its still as simple as that. Our countries are more secure and the world is safer when the United States and Russia get on well together.
So I thank you for your partnership and your commitment to the future that we can build together, for this and for future generations.
With that, let me introduce President Medvedev.
PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV: Thank you, Mr. President. (As translated.) Distinguished colleagues, of course, I must start with thanking my counterpart, President Barack Obama, for the invitation to visit the United States of America with a visit and for the exceptional hospitality and generosity we observed here. Even the weather is so warm that it leaves no doubt that everything is the result of hard work in terms of preparation of the visit.
Our delegation appreciated the hospitality. And in Moscow we met various places, and today I have managed to dine with President Barack Obama — an interesting place, which is typically American — probably its not quite healthy, but its very tasty, and you can feel the spirit of America.
But this is not the main thing we were engaged in. Our delegation, the Russian delegation had a very busy schedule and — which started in California, which is an unparalleled event. Besides the fact that its a very beautiful place on the coast of the United States, its a token place, and I hope this is a symbolic launch of cooperation between our countries in the sphere of innovation and high-tech.
We spoke about — have spoken about it today with the President and before, saying that we would have a dialogue to build confidence between our countries. We have made steps aimed at establishing a more firm construction of our relations — structure of our relations. And to a certain extent, we made our world safer. I must say this.
But this is not enough for our bilateral economic ties to change. And this visit is generally mostly aimed at achieving these goals. We are ready for that and our American partners are ready for this same thing. The President and I agreed to work in this sphere, and today the main part of our talks were devoted to economic issues, and first of all, to the very complicated issues as Russias membership in WTO.
Mr. President has just said that we have reached progress and made headway, but we will later discuss it, probably. I am sure that such cooperation as cooperation in high-tech sphere can be mutually beneficial, including in this framework of those new projects created in Russia.
We are establishing our continuation to see all this in the Silicon Valley, far from Moscow, which is the Skolkovo Center, and hope that our American partners will actively partake in this project and will have some good groundwork for that.
In my yesterdays talk in the Silicon Valley and the forum that was held in St. Petersburg, the economic forum, the decisions of major companies to come to Russia with such investment — all this inspires us and shows that we can agree not only on missiles and some important and complicated issues of national agenda.
I count on the fact that in Russia well soon have relevant business in place. Yesterday I had an interesting event in my life. I visited Stanford University, which is a well-known university with special climate, and I was enjoying walking and strolling around Stanford without necktie and a suit, but in jeans, which was a pleasure for those people who occupy high posts. I also spoke with students, professors and teachers and the faculty. It was an open, frank and candid communication, and I felt their interest in strengthening our good relations and creating new high-tech projects in the Russian Federation and the United States.
As far as the talks of today, Mr. President has said in detail about everything. I have practically nothing to add. We went through all the issues and the items of the agenda. Were interested in removing the obstacles accumulated over the previous period in this area of bilateral trade and investment.
Russia has been actively participating in international labor division, and after the Washington summit is over, we will fly — well, by different planes — well fly to Canada, where we will address the issue of promoting our common view and common goals, and discussing the global financial agenda, and on our mutual understanding, a lot depends in the format of G20, including.
Today, we have spoken about our economies responses to the effects of the crisis. So we believe that much is done, but a lot has to be done. President told me about many innovations and novelties hes trying to steer through the Congress to make the U.S. economy more stable. I briefed him on our crisis exit measures.
I believe it was a helpful exchange of opinions, and I hope that in a cooperative way we will, together, discuss the issues of restoring the global finance and establishing the new financial order during the G20 meeting.
There are some things that should be substantially changed — I mean, the investment climate. We should provide a stimulus to our businessmen to be more attentive and thoughtful towards each other, to invest funds in each others economies. And this is why, after the press conference, we’re going to meet our business communities of our countries and we’ll talk of future steps so that the level of economic investment cooperation is in line with the potential of the U.S. and the Russian economies.
Over the last period of time, we created a number of useful tools. One of them is a Presidential Commission that has been mentioned by Mr. Obama. On the one hand, its a common instrument, but on the other hand, its a mechanism that provides for effective interaction which is in line with the current spirit and level of our friend and partnership relations that — and also relations between Mr. Obama and me. So I hope all the colleagues that are present here and that are members of the commission will actively work to implement the plans that we have.
So we went through the national agenda and today we devoted less time to it because in our previous meetings we devoted a lot to it, so still we have managed to do something. We spoke of the Middle East crisis, and the resolution on Iran, the Korean Peninsula developments, the Kyrgyzstan developments, and some other most complicated issues that are currently on our plate.
We also spoke about European security. We believe that we share a common view that Europe should have a security system. We have some differences — and Mr. President mentioned it — in terms of, for example, the after-effects of the conflict that was initiated by Georgias leadership in 2008. But these differences do not prevent us from discussing future and launching new mechanisms of contacts.
We discussed the situation around the New START Treaty. Our goal — the goal of the two Presidents — is to ensure tranquil ratification of the treaty by our parliament. I hope its going to be done in the near future. For example — in the Federation Council, there are hearings in place — and in Congress, there are hearings, as far as I know, as well as in the Senate. So these active discussions should reveal the truth and synchronize the approaches of ratification.
We keep thinking of our next future steps, and this is a serious responsibility of the Russian Federation and the United States. Well not lift this responsibility or shirk it. We will keep in touch. And Im always ready to discuss various issues with my colleague and my counterpart. And we succeed in these discussions.
Last time the President and I spoke over the phone it was a record — my record of phone conversation — probably President Obama has some longer records — it lasted one hour, 45 minutes, which is a lot. I may say, frankly, and the ear starts getting stiff. But the result — I will not brief you on the nuances — on the topics we discussed, we were both interested and submerged into the topic. Not only our aides, our ministers should be that responsible, but we, too.
So Im thankful to my counterpart for his active cooperation and for a warm welcome here in Washington. Thank you so much.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Were going to take some questions. We will start with Carol Lee, of Politico.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Does the change in command in Afghanistan change your timetable for withdrawal? Is there likely to be any disruption, particularly given Secretary Gates seemed to contradict Vice President Bidens comments that you can bet on a large number of troops withdrawing in July of 2011? So are you confident that everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to your plan? Do you expect anyone else to leave?
And if I may, to President Medvedev, given your countrys history and experience in Afghanistan, and your ability to talk candidly with President Obama, have you offered him any advice on the Afghan war? And do you believe that a foreign country can win in Afghanistan?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The short answer is that what we saw yesterday was a change in personnel but not a change in policy. Let me flesh that out.
When we engaged in an extensive review last year, General Petraeus was part of a group that included Secretaries Gates, Clinton, my national security team, that discussed extensively what our various options were in Afghanistan. And what was determined was, number one, that we had to be very clear on our mission.
Our mission, first and foremost, is to dismantle and destroy al Qaeda and its affiliates so that they cant attack the United States. The reason were there in the first place is because 3,000 Americans were killed from an attack launched in that region. We are not going to have that repeated.
In order to achieve that, we have to make sure that we have a stable Afghan government, and we also have to make sure that weve got a Pakistani government that is working effectively with us to dismantle these networks.
What we then said was we would put in additional troops to provide the time and the space for the Afghan government to build up its security capacities, to clear and hold population centers that are critical, to drive back the Taliban, to break their momentum, and that beginning next year we would begin a transition phase in which the Afghan government is taking more and more responsibility for its own security.
Heres what we did not say last year. We did not say that starting July 2011, suddenly there would be no troops from the United States or allied countries in Afghanistan. We didnt say wed be switching off the lights and closing the door behind us. What we said is wed begin a transition phase in which the Afghan government is taking on more and more responsibility.
That is the strategy that was put forward. What weve also said is, is that in December of this year, a year after this strategy has been put in place, at a time when the additional troops have been in place and have begun implementing strategy, that well conduct a review and well make an assessment: Is the strategy working? Is it working in part? Are there other aspects of it that arent working? How is the coordination between civilian and military? Are we doing enough to build Afghan security capacity? How are we working effectively with our allies?
So we are in the midpoint of implementing the strategy that we came up with last year. Well do a review at the end of this year. General Petraeus understands that strategy because he helped shape it. And my expectation is that he will be outstanding in implementing it, and we will not miss a beat because of the change in command in the Afghan theater.
Keep in mind that during this entire time, General Petraeus has been the CENTCOM commander, which means hes had responsibility in part for overseeing what happened in Afghanistan. And that is part of the reason why I think hes going to do such a capable job. Not only does he have extraordinary experience in Iraq, not only did he help write the manual for dealing with insurgencies, but he also is intimately familiar with the players. He knows President Karzai. He knows the other personnel who are already on the ground.
So our team is going to be moving forward in sync. It is true that I am going to be insisting on a unity of purpose on the part of all branches of the U.S. government that reflects the enormous sacrifices that are being made by the young men and women who are there.
Every time I go to Walter Reed, when I visited Afghanistan and I visited the hospitals, and you see young men and women who are giving their all, making enormous sacrifices on behalf of the security of this nation, my expectation is, is that the leadership is true to those sacrifices; that the strategy that were promoting, the manner in which we are working together at the leadership level fully reflects and honors the incredible dedication of our young men and women on the ground.
Thats what I expect, and I believe that is what I will receive.
Was there one last aspect to the question?
Q Does anyone else need to go in the chain of command?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I am confident that weve got a team in place that can execute. Now, I’m paying very close attention to make sure that they execute and I will be insisting on extraordinary performance moving forward.
One last thing I just want to remind everybody, though. The issues with General McChrystal that culminated in my decision yesterday were not as a result of a difference in policy. I want to be very clear about that. He was executing the policy that I had laid out; that he was executing the orders that I had issued and that were reflective of the review process that took place last year.
PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV: (As translated.) I’ll try to be even briefer than my colleague, Mr. President. You know, I hope that we have quite friendly relations with President Obama, but I try not to give pieces of advice that cannot be fulfilled. This is a hard topic, a difficult one. I can say only two things. First of all, we believe that, at present, the United States and some other countries are assisting the Afghan people in obtaining the much wanted statehood, and restore the basis of the functioning of an effective state; restore their civil society and their economy. And in these terms, we will support and back the efforts of the U.S.
As far as our own experience, well-known experiences, I would very much like to see the Afghan people in the near future having an effective state and a modern economy, which requires toiling more than a year. But this is the path to guarantee that the most — the gravest scenarios of the last time will not repeat.
Q My question to the President of the United States — you just mentioned that you discussed the issue of Russia joining the WTO during your talks. But I must admit that promises to facilitate Russias entry has been heard by the Russian delegation for a decade. Could you more specifically name the time frame when youre referring to finalizing the process in near future?
And a question to Medvedev — yesterday you visited the Silicon Valley. How did your perceptions on future cooperation between Russia and the U.S. in high-tech sphere change, and what indicators should be reached so that you can call the cooperation a successful one? Thank you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: On the WTO, first of all, I emphasized to President Medvedev, I emphasized to his entire delegation, and I now want to emphasize to the Russian people, we think it is not only in the interests of the Russian Federation, but in the interests of the United States and in the interest of the world that Russia joins the WTO. So this is something that we want to get resolved.
In terms of time frame, let me give you a sense of perspective from our U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, who has been in close contact in negotiations with his counterparts on the Russian side. The way he described it is that 90-95 percent of the issues have now been resolved. Now, the remaining 5 to 10 percent are difficult issues and are going to require some significant work. But that should give you some sense that a lot of work has already been done even in the last few months that makes an enormous difference.
Now, in our joint statement, what we were going to essentially instruct our negotiators is that they try to come to terms with the technical issues that remain by the fall. We are going to keep putting pressure on negotiators in the same way that we did during the START Treaty, so that these — theres a sense of urgency on the part of our team.
A lot of the technical issues, the resolution of those technical issues, though, may be in the hands of the Russian government. Weve already made progress on some issues like encryption, for example. There may be certain international standards that require modifications in Russian law.
So as much as possible, what Ive told my team is we are going to do everything we can to get this done as quickly as possible, and we will be very specific and very clear about the technical issues that Russia still faces. And Russia, then, will act in accordance with its needs and requirements internally to meet the demands of the WTO in order to get this done.
But Im confident that we can get this completed. And I am confident that President Medvedev and his vision for an innovative, modernized, energized economy are entirely consistent with Russias joining the WTO.
And I also want to just say this. Sometimes its odd when youre sitting in historic meetings with your Russian counterpart to spend time talking about chicken. (Laughter.) But our ability to get resolved a trade dispute around poultry that is a multibillion-dollar export for the United States was, I think, an indication of the seriousness with which President Medvedev and his team take all of these trade and commercial issues.
And I very much appreciate the steady and consistent manner in which the President has approached these issues. Thats part of what gives me confidence that were going to get this done and that this will just be one aspect of a broader strengthening of commercial ties, cross-border investment, and expanded opportunities and job creation both in the Russian Federation and in the United States.
PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV: (As translated.) I will say a couple of words about the WTO, because its important for our country. First of all, we have coordinated a common approach today which says that some substantive issues are almost — are none left. So we moved along all the lines starting from encryption and intellectual property, and ending with state borders and other things like synchronized character of changing the Russian legislation as — in the process of joining the WTO.
There are some remaining technical minor problems and our teams have been instructed to work as fast as possible. And we hope — and we have stated this — that the work will be finalized by the end of September this year.
I’m quite happy that we have set the time frame not to lose all the positive momentum in what we have deliberated, and not to dilute the talks about WTO in the issues of chicken meat or swine trimming. Were in a different situation today.
As far as cooperation in the Silicon Valley is concerned, yesterday we paid heed that everyone wishes to call the Silicon Valley the Kremlin Valley in Russia. Probably for English there is no difference, but in Russia there is. So in the Kremlin Valley it was very interesting — the visit, I mean. And I looked at the activities of major companies that will, as I hope, become our close partners for modernization and technological advancement of our economy like — those like Cisco. And yesterday we inked a memorandum on investment in some projects to the tune of great sums. And also I watched the activities of small companies situated in the Silicon Valley, which set an example of being efficient and effective and in the high-tech business.
Its very good that our companies settle in the Silicon Valley. Yesterday I browsed though the search engine Yandex, which is our number one search engine, and one of the major systems for such information in the world. So we should learn how to work and we should not swagger saying that we are clever enough. We have something to learn in terms of organizing business, and this is prompted by my talk with the representatives of Russian business communities that moved to the United States or are here on a temporary basis. Some of them are wishing to work with Russian investors. Many of them want to come back to Russia. But they do have precious experience as the Silicon Valley and what is done there.
And its first and foremost people — their minds and their abilities and skills — and only after money and infrastructure. So we will carefully study the experience of the Silicon Valley, and without replicating, we will use the best practices and samples that exist in California in the framework of that major project that is called the Silicon Valley.
Q Thank you very much, Mr. President. Id like to ask about the G20, since you are both heading to the summit. On China, youve already welcomed its decision on the yuan. Are you satisfied with how far the country has moved since that news? How will this influence your judgment on whether China is a currency manipulator? And when will you release your report to Congress on this matter?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that China made progress by making its announcement that its going to be returning to its phased-in, market-based approach to the RMB. The initial signs were positive, but its too early to tell whether the appreciation that will track the market is sufficient to allow for the rebalancing that we think is appropriate.
Im going to leave it up to Secretary Tim Geithner to make a determination as to the pace. Hes the expert when it comes to examining the currency markets. I will say that we did not expect a complete 20-percent appreciation overnight, for example, simply because that would be extremely disruptive to world currency markets and to the Chinese economy. And ultimately, not surprisingly, China has got to make these decisions based on its sovereignty and its economic platform.
But we have said consistently that we believe that the RMB is undervalued, that that provides China with an unfair trade advantage, and that we expect change. The fact that they have said they are beginning that process is positive. And so we will continue to monitor and verify how rapidly these changes are taking place.
And I think that we will be able to track a trajectory. And if that trajectory indicates that over the course of a year the RMB has appreciated a certain amount that is more in line in economic fundamentals, then I — hopefully not only will that be good for the U.S. economy, that will also be good for the Chinese economy and the world economy.
More broadly, just to widen out the challenges that the world economy faces, we said in Pittsburgh in the G20 that it was important for us to rebalance in part because the U.S. economy for a long period of time was the engine of world economic growth; we were sucking in imports from all across the world financed by huge amounts of consumer debt. Because of the financial crisis, but also because that debt was fundamentally unsustainable, the United States is not going to be able to serve in that same capacity to that same extent.
We are obviously still a huge part of the world economy. We are still going to be open. We are still going to be importing as well as exporting. But the economic realities are such that for us to see sustained global economic growth, all countries are going to have to be moving in some new directions.
That was acknowledged in Pittsburgh. That means that surplus countries are going to have to think about how are we spurring domestic demand. That means that emerging countries are going to have to think are we only oriented towards exports, or are we also starting to produce manufacturing goods and services for the internal market. It means that deficit countries have to start getting serious about their midterm and long-term debt and deficits. And that includes the United States of America, which is why I’ve got a fiscal commission that’s going to be reporting to me by the end of the year.
So the point is not every country is going to respond exactly the same way, but all of us are going to have responsibilities to rebalance in ways that allow for long-term, sustained economic growth in which all countries are participating and, hopefully, the citizens of all these countries are benefiting.
Q A question to both Presidents. You said that you discussed the situation in Kyrgyzstan. Do you share the view on the problem and what are joint ways of solving it? Its known that Russia and U.S. have military bases in the republic. So do you consider opportunity to involve a military contingent if the situation in Kyrgyzstan keeps deteriorating?
PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV: Yes, we have discussed this issue, as the situation in the republic is difficult. At present, the state is not operating as it should. The country, de facto, is split into parts, and civil unrest and clashes continue on ethnic grounds. Very many people have perished, and the authorities have been incapable of preventing what has happened.
So we are interested, both Russia and the States, in the states ability in Kyrgyzstan to be able to resolve such issues, and look that all the civil rights are observed, and the tasks of ensuring food supplies and basic material facilities are ensured.
Russia is working with the temporary caretaker leadership of Kyrgyzstan. We believe that they should prove their legitimate character, nature. But we consider Kyrgyzstan to be a strategic partner. We will help them both in terms of money and humanitarian aid. We hope that during the election process, a full-fledged government will be shaped, able to solve and rest the issues that face this state. Otherwise Kyrgyzstan will degrade and will break up into parts.
All of us share a concern that under these circumstances, radical elements may rise to power in that country, and in this case, we will have to address the issues that are addressed by us in other regions. I’m referring to the goals that we have in Afghanistan.
We discussed this issue, and if we are talking about a possibility of some enforcing order, well, I believe that Kyrgyzstan should on its own cope with these problems. The Russian Federation does not plan any deployment of a peaceful contingent. And I got a letter from the Acting President of Kyrgyzstan, Roza Otunbayeva. But there is a consultations mechanism in the CSTO format. Heads of Security Council met to discuss the issue of security and of deploying a peacekeepers contingent. So far there is no need, they have decided, but things may start developing by different scenarios.
So CSTO will respond, and me, being the chairman of the organization, any time can convene a meeting of relevant bodies, and we hope that the United States does have an understanding.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Obviously were monitoring the situation very carefully. There already has been excellent coordination between the United States and the Russian Federation on delivery of humanitarian aid.
One of the things that we discussed is creating a mechanism so that the international community can ensure that we have a peaceful resolution of the situation there, and that any actions that are taken to protect civilians are done so not under the flag of any particular country, but that the international community is stepping in.
And so our teams will be in continuing discussions in the weeks ahead as we monitor the situation as it unfolds.
All right. Thank you very much, everybody.
2:53 P.M. EDT
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Speeches & Remarks
The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release June 24, 2010
Remarks by the First Lady and Mrs. Medvedeva at Duke Ellington School for the Arts
Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Washington, D.C.
2:52 P.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Thank you all so much. I dont know if I can top that. I wish I could sing and dance or give you something a little bit more, but all I have is my thanks. What an amazing performance. And weve got to just give this school, these students, the alumni, the staff, all a round of applause. You all are just amazing — amazing. (Applause.)
I want to thank Principal Pullens for his leadership, for his kind introduction. (Applause.) And, again, I want to give a special thanks to every administrator, to all the staff, all the teachers, the choreographers, all of the leadership here at this school that makes it possible — we have to give all of our leadership a round of applause. (Applause.)
Its truly no accident that so many students are thriving here at Duke Ellington. It is no accident that just about every student at this school graduates on time and goes on to college and to do so many other amazing things. (Applause.) That is due in a large part to the educators who work here, and it has a lot to do with the families and all the support systems — yes, you all can sit down. Please, rest yourselves. (Laughter.)
So we are just grateful to everyone who makes this school possible. You are the pride of this city and of this country. And it has just been an honor for me to show you off to our guests.
Id also like to recognize Diana Vishneva, who is here. Please stand. (Applause.) Diana is a prima ballerina for Kirov Ballet — (applause) — and also the American Ballet Theater. And we thank her for joining us here today. It is truly an inspiration for us to have you here and to see these fabulous students who are going to follow in your footsteps. And she has done just some outstanding work to expose so many other young people to the arts. Diana, thank you so much. (Applause.)
And I also want to thank our guest, my dear friend, the First Lady of Russia, Svetlana Medvedev. We have become friends over the course of this year. And she and her husband graciously hosted our family in Russia last summer, and they treated us so well. And one of the many things that we did is we went to a wonderful performance by the world-famous Moiseyev Dance Company in Moscow. And it was truly — truly a treat. The girls got to come. Grandma was there. (Laughter.) It was wonderful. So I wanted to treat her to something special. (Applause.) So I brought her here to see all of you, here to Duke Ellington today. (Applause.) And you did not disappoint. You did me proud, Duke Ellington. Way to go. (Applause.)
President Obama and the President of Russia, our husbands, have worked hard to strengthen the cooperation between the United States and Russia. They are two amazing men who are building new bonds and changing the world in the course, and so much of that effort is rooted in their mutual respect for the people of the United States and of Russia.
Thats why Im so pleased to have this opportunity to return the hospitality that my family received, and to showcase the extraordinary young people that are here at this school and in this city. Its important for the world to see.
As your principal has so eloquently put it, students here — and this is a quote — have the essence of what made this country great inside of them.
You all — the students, the staff, the administration here — embody everything that we hope for in our young people.
We know how hard you all work, putting in long hours in class. Its just amazing to think about the time it takes to practice and to create those kind of performances, but then you also have to show up in class, right? (Laughter.) Theres still chemistry and math and writing and research and all of that good stuff.
But its such a thrill to know that youve put the work in not just during the year but to make this performance special. We know how accomplished you all are, producing great works of art, because this school isnt just about music and dance and song. There are beautiful artists here. And I got to see some of the works in some of the studios. And there are some fabulous artists here, including the performances of the Duke Ellington choir. I think weve really worn you guys out because we have you at the White House almost all the time. (Laughter.) I think every time we want some young people there, were like, Call Duke Ellington! (Applause.) And that includes performing at my husbands inauguration, where your Show Choir brought down the house yet again. (Applause.)
But we also know how much you give back, with many of you going above and beyond your community service requirements. Thats another thing these young people are doing — talented, smart, and volunteering in their communities, spending hundreds of hours working with children and seniors, sharing your passion for the arts with folks all across this country.
So you know how the arts can enrich all of us in this nation as individuals. You know how the arts can enrich all of our communities and the country. And you know how the arts can connect us to each other like nothing else can. You know how people who come from completely different cultures and backgrounds, people who might not even speak a single word of the same language, they might still be drawn together when their hearts are lifted by the notes of a song, or a vision on a canvas, or the graceful arc of a dance.
And I think that should give us all cause for hope, all around the world, because we know that ultimately, relationships between nations arent just about relationships between presidents and prime ministers, or first ladies, for that matter. The real foundation of these relationships are about the connections between ordinary citizens, particularly between young people. You all are leading the way in this movement.
Thats why engaging young people across the globe is such a priority for me, and I know it is for Mrs. Medvedev as well, because her country, like ours, is a place that cares deeply about culture and about the young people who carry it forward. I know her family is a lover of music and jazz, and shes a pianist, and her son plays the guitar, and they have music all throughout their home. And as I travel around the world, I want young people everywhere to know that the United States believes in them and cares about their future. It is so important for us to continue to lift up the next generation, not just here in this country but your peers around the world.
And as I travel across this country, I want young people here to understand how important it is for them to learn about other countries and cultures. Thats so important for you. I know there are seniors moving on to college, but one of the things that Ive talked about at every commencement speech that Ive given this year is that, take the opportunity to explore the world. Get out of this country. (Laughter and applause.) Because theres just a wonderful opportunity for personal growth and for community growth if you come back and bring back the knowledge that you gain when youre educated in the world. So take advantage of opportunities to study abroad, to visit friends who live abroad, make friends from other countries. Just never be intimidated by the world. It is yours as well.
And hosting my friend, my fellow First Lady, and sharing your gifts with her is just one small example of how you all right here just in this auditorium have already made a difference. Just in this performance, you have strengthened the bond between two great nations. Imagine that. (Applause.)
So I am so very proud of you, all of you, so grateful to you. And I want to keep having you all at the White House. I want to see you traveling and singing and dancing all over the country, all over the world. You are our hope. You are our future. So you got to work hard. (Laughter.)
So with that, it is my pleasure now to ask the First Lady, Svetlana Medvedeva, to say a few words. She wanted so desperately to express her thanks and her passion directly. And shes going to have an interpreter as well, although her English is better than my Russian. (Laughter.) But Id like us to give her a warm welcome. Thank you all. (Applause.)
MRS. MEDVEDEVA: (As translated.) Dear Michelle Obama, dear friends, it is with great interest and with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation to come and visit your school, a school thats named after a great American musician, Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington is very well known in Russia and he is very popular, his music is very popular in Russia. (Applause.)
I know that your school is not a regular school. I know the kids who go to this school are a very talented and versatile people. I know that in addition to regular subjects, you guys also specialize in different arts such as music and dance, literature and design.
I know that your school is very young. But I also know that you are interested in different arts. Youve demonstrated love for classical music, and also for folk music and your own kind of music.
I would like to tell you that in Russia we also are very much interested in supporting talented and gifted children. There are lots of schools for gifted children in Russia. There are a lot of ballet schools, one of them in St. Petersburg named after a very famous ballerina, Vaganova. There are also arts schools in Russia as well.
Id like to tell you about one school, a school in Moscow, which is very similar to this school, the school that you all go to. This school is named after a very famous Russian composer and educator, composer (inaudible). This school keeps the (inaudible) of the Russian culture and the Russian cultural traditions. And it was for — the school is open to everyone who is interested in classical and modern music and art.
The doors of this school is open to everyone who is interested in arts, design, choreography, dance and theater. There are about 2,000 children who are students of that school. This school has its own orchestra, it has its own theater, and those who are interested in organ music can take organ classes. And children are composers themselves.
What I would like to see — I would like to see the children of our schools — yours and ours — to become friends. (Applause.) And I dont think that theres going to be a language barrier. English is very popular in Russia. Its taught in our schools. Plus, arts do not — and culture do not need any translators. (Applause.)
And the friendship that you will establish probably will be the best friendship that you will carry all your lives. (Applause.) And after establishing this friendship, it will be easier for children of Russia and children of the United States to develop their own worldview. (Applause.)
Because its up to you, up to the young people of both countries, to build the world that will be a world of friendship and cooperation between our states and between our governments. (Applause.)
Dear friends, I wish you the best. I wish you successes. And I wish for all of you to have (inaudible). And, moreover, I would like to thank you for this wonderful concert.
Thank you very much.
3:12 P.M. EDT
“Some have even wondered whether our Declaration of Independence may have been signed with goose quills from Russia.”
Name ONE, Mr. Obama.
“Today, we took another step forward. Our two governments are making a joint commitment to open government that fosters transparency and combats the corruption that stifles economic growth.”
The Russian: “But it is evident that the world economy and the world itself has changed. And we will have to CHANGE THE RULES, although everybody present in this hall are committed to modern economic approaches and are committed to a free market.”
Be very worried.
“...we will fly well, by different planes well fly to Canada,...”
...unlike a certain Polish delegation.
“....where we will address the issue of promoting our common view and common goals, and discussing the GLOBAL FINANCIAL AGENDA,...”
That is what is taught to children of communists... like obammy here.
Declaration of Independence to be CHANGED to Dependence on Government.
I can’t stress enough just how VERY important it is right now to pray for our country!
And fight to save it.
YES....and prayer is foundational to that battle....in the honorable tradition of our Founding Fathers!
Naturally Obama couldn’t resist a swipe at the Bush administration. Of course Obama has improved relations with Russia because he doesn’t see anything wrong with Russia having invaded and occupied a large part of Georgia.
I think you may have missed a keyword or two.
It is a pleasure to be here with my friend and partner, President Medvedev, and I want to thank him again for his leadership, especially his vision for an innovative Russia that's modernizing its economy, including deeper economic ties between our two countries... As we all know, despite the surge in trade in recent years, the economic relationship between the United States and Russia is still largely one of untapped potential. And I pointed out last year that our trade with Russia is only about the same as our trade with Thailand -- a country with less than half the population of Russia. So obviously thereâs more work to do... I am especially pleased that Boeing and Russian Technologies are moving forward with a $4 billion deal on 50 Boeing 737s. This is a win for Russia, creating a long-term market for its raw materials and resulting in modern airplanes for Russia's travelers. It's obviously a win for the United States, because this partnership could add up to 44,000 new jobs in the American aerospace industry. This reflects my administration's National Export Initiative, and itâs a perfect example of the shared prosperity -- and the high-tech jobs that we can create together.
Barry Soetoro is a touch hole and we pay the price!
WORLD TOUCH HOLE!!!
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