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Bush and Putin Agree on Nuclear Energy Cooperation


President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin say their countries continue to maintain good relations, and will work together to combat terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The two leaders met reporters Saturday after holding private talks in St. Petersburg, Russia before the official start of the Group of Eight summit.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin say they have agreed to work together to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as the creation of a peaceful nuclear energy initiative for all nations.

The U.S. president says he and his Russian counterpart are working to send a "common message" to both Iran and North Korea to halt their nuclear programs. The two men say they also discussed concerns that Russia appears to be backing away from democracy.

Mr. Bush says he knows that Moscow will not develop a U.S.-style democracy, and that Mr. Putin does not want anyone to tell him how to run his country.

The two presidents say they are still working on a deal that would let Russia join the World Trade Organization, but have yet to reach such a deal as some reports earlier suggested.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin will be joined today by the remaining leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, plus Russia - the G-8 - for a three-day summit.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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