Friday, June 8, 2001
(Media availability en route to Finland. Also participating is Victoria Clarke, assistant secretary of defense for Public Affairs.)
Rumsfeld: It was a good meeting [in Brussels with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov]. It was very accurately characterized in the press conference.
Q: -- You all sounded like you were very anxious to downplay differences, and in fact, to emphasize the common ground?
Rumsfeld: Interesting I didn't feel that there was any strain in doing that. It was I think a very accurate reflection of the meeting.
Q: Did he want you to explain in more detail what this framework concept is all about?
Rumsfeld: We had -- how long were we in there?
Clarke: We started about 20 (minutes) after 2, and it went to 4. An hour and 40 minutes.
Rumsfeld: Well we went over a lot of things, like that sure. We discussed any number of aspects of each of the topics that we referenced in the press conference.
Q: What did you tell them the framework is?
Rumsfeld: My inclination is to proceed with the kinds of discussions that we described, going forward, and to do it on a personal and professional basis, rather than through the press. I know that is a shocking thought. (Laugher) It is instantaneous? Yes. Efficient?
Q: When is he coming to Washington?
Rumsfeld: We didn't set a date.
Q: Did you at least say or lay out your differences, in terms of how you're approaching ABM and missile defense?
Rumsfeld: We each walked through just a whole series of things and talked about our different perspectives on each of the items that we talked about.
Q: He said before the meeting, he said at the press conference, that they didn't see a threat from strategic long-term missiles for a "long, long time." Did you have an exchange on that?
Rumsfeld: Yes, as he said in the press conference, we talked about the threats, a variety of threats, not just ballistic missiles, but cruise missiles and terrorism, and down the road various other types of cyber problems.
Q: Did you get the sense that the Russians were looking beyond the ABM treaty at this point?
Rumsfeld: It would be unwise to answer questions for him, really. What you heard is exactly what took place in that meeting. It was a very interesting exchange.
Q: Did you find that you liked each other? I mean --
Rumsfeld: I can't speak for him.
Q: Did you go to the videotape?
Rumsfeld: No, but it's a good line though.
Q: Did you hit it off kind of?
Rumsfeld: Well, I certainly enjoyed the meeting, as I said when I came out. He is a very intelligent, and thoughtful, knowledgeable, interlockable --
Q: Had you ever met him before?
Rumsfeld: I had passed him briefly at the Munich meeting, but didn't have a chance to meet. He was apparently there --
Q: Had you spoken on the phone or have any conversations with him prior to this?
Rumsfeld: Not that I can recall. He was not defense minister until very recently, he was dealing with Konve, his national security advisor.
Q: But you didn't take him to the movies?