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Secretary Rumsfeld Media Availability en route to Finland

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
June 10, 2001

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?