From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng (Original Message) Sent: 6/6/2006 6:20 AM
Vladimir Putin Worried about Territorial Integrity
// Of France and Italy
Getting Ready for the G8 Summit
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the heads of the leading news agencies of the G8 countries at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogarevo outside Moscow. The meeting was suggested by ITAR-TASS. The director of a Canadian agency was invited as well, but did not attend. Kommersant special correspondent Andrey Kolesnikov was there too.
"From your news gathering the world finds out about the absolute majority of events on the planet," Putin told his guests after ushering them into his office. The meeting was broadcast live into the auditorium of the presidential residence, where journalists from the same agencies watched their bosses talking to the president.
"Soon journalists from your companies will be covering the G8 summit in St. Petersburg," the president continued. "We are counting on your new gathering to have full and objective information on all issues, all events that happen in St. Petersburg." ITAR-TASS's intentions were becoming clearer.
"On the threshold of the summit, I would like to remind you of main agenda that we are proposing for discussion," Putin stated. He shuffled through a pile of agenda papers and pulled out a proposal for the establishment of a worldwide network of atomic centers. "Their goal is to provide access to the peaceful atom to new consumer countries and full guarantee technical safety and international control over nonproliferation," the president explained.
Boris Biancheri, president of the Italian ANSA agency, was then given the floor. Then he spoke for quite a while about the role of the U.N. in the world in response to Biancheri's question. It became clear that the newsmen had prepared their questions in advance.
The editor-in-chief of Associated Press asked if Russia would abide by economic sanctions if they were imposed on Iran.
"There is a saying that if the old lady had certain sexual attributes, she would still be a girl," Putin answered.
That took a while to translate and explain. Then there was laughter, some of it polite and some of it sincere.
"Politics can't stand the subjunctive mood," the president elucidated. "In my last conversation with the president of the United States, I agreed that Russia should not remain by the wayside in that process. As for sanctions, we think it is too early to discuss that."
Reuter's Tom Glocer asked about oil prices, giving the president a chance to talk about diversification of the Russian economy. The president of France Presse asked about the referendum in Montenegro and how it pertains to unrecognized states, also receiving a very long answer from the president, beginning by pointing out that Russia has never considered incorporating the unrecognized states in the former Soviet Union.
"I think that we all must work out unified rules for events of a unilateral character in various regions of the world," the president said. "Otherwise we are heading for chaos! Not only will it be hard to explain to the residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia why the Albanians in Kosovo could separate from the country they officially belong now and they can't! And what will happen in Spain and France? And in Italy, where there are many conversations of a separatist character? That concerns me very much."
The president of Deutsche Presse-Agentur asked about Gazprom's expansion in Europe and Satoshi Ishikawa, head of the Kyodo news agency asked about the Kurile Islands. Then, after a total of 40 minutes of Q & A, they adjourned to a dinner catered by the Moscow restaurant Arkady Novikov, which lasted two hours.
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