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Russia/U.S.: Bush, Putin Vow Cooperation After Summit

Brdo Castle, Slovenia; 16 June 2001 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are characterizing their one-day summit today outside the Slovene capital Ljubljana as "excellent."

Bush said afterward that the Russian president impressed him as someone Washington can work with and he vowed to seize the opportunity. "Russia and America have the opportunity to accomplish much together. We should seize it, and today we have begun," Bush said.

Bush said he has invited Putin to Washington this Fall and Putin has accepted. He said he will also visit Russia.

Putin said Russia and the U.S. are not enemies and can work together. "We assume there are elements which are uniting us with our partners in the United States. When we hear about concerns about the future and threats, we agree that these are issues we should think about together," Putin said.

Bush said the two had agreed on a detailed dialogue on security issues. He also said they discussed their common interest in developing Caspian Basin energy resources and U.S.-Russian differences over Chechyna and media issues.

The talks also focused on Bush's plans to develop a missile defense system, NATO expansion further eastwards, and the Balkans.

At the conclusion of the summit, Putin flew to Belgrade for talks with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica.

The overnight visit will be the first by Putin to Yugoslavia. The Russian president is accompanied by his foreign and defense ministers.

Yugoslav officials said earlier today that Putin will discuss with Yugoslav leaders economic cooperation and key aspects of the situation in Yugoslavia. Putin is to have dinner with Kostunica tonight and hold formal talks tomorrow morning.