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Official website of the President of Russia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair

July 21, 2001, Genoa

The meeting took place on board the M/S European Vision, which was providing accommodation for the G8 leaders during the summit.

The two leaders discussed strategic stability and Britain’s stance on the issue, the situation surrounding the ABM Treaty, and developments in the Middle East and the Balkans.

Mr Putin also set forth his views concerning the use of so-called “smart sanctions” against Iraq. The Russian president described them as ineffective, as, according to him, they failed to guarantee the Iraqi leadership’s compliance with the non-proliferation regime. He said that to be able to control Iraq’s military programme, it was necessary above all to send UN observers back to Iraq and to persuade the Iraqi government to agree to such a step in exchange for the lifting of all sanctions. This would help settle the crisis and would reduce the region’s potential for conflict.

Messrs Putin and Blair also considered some aspects of bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation, prospects for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organisation, and plans for political contacts and coordination of efforts in security and in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime.

Before their tete-a-tete meeting, Putin and Blair talked with the leader of the Irish rock group U2, Bono, and Irish musician Bob Geldof. Both rockers are activists of the “Drop the Debt” movement, which seeks to force a write-off of the poorest countries’ debts through peaceful protests.

The conversation lasted about ten minutes and dealt with aid to developing countries, especially in the public health sector. “The wider the [wealth] gap becomes, the more problems it generates,” said the Russian president as he summed up relations between the most developed and the poorest countries. He invited Bono and Geldof to visit Moscow.

July 21, 2001, Genoa