Remarks
Philip H. Gordon
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
En Route Moscow, Russia
October 12, 2009


ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: The Secretary is going to Moscow as part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to rebuild an effective, constructive relationship with Russia on a wide range of areas of common interest. This is based on the view articulated by the President very early in the Administration that he believes that we can find areas of common interest to work together on, even if we may disagree in other areas. And that effort has been ongoing sine the start of the Administration, and this will be a further step forward in that effort.

They – I can (inaudible) the schedule. She – the Secretary is going to begin with a discussion with Foreign Minister Lavrov and his team, more than two hours of discussions, which will provide time to cover, we hope, the full range of issues that they need to talk about. And those will, no doubt, include issues like Iran, the Middle East, Afghanistan, missile defense, Russia’s neighborhood, and no doubt, many others – climate change.

And it will also be an opportunity to work on and discuss the advancement of the Bilateral Presidential Commission. As you know, the Presidential Commission launched at the summit last summer is headed by the two presidents, but it is co-chaired by the Secretary of State and Foreign Minister Lavrov. And more than half of the 16 working groups have now met, and it’ll be a chance for the two – the Secretary and the foreign minister to review the work that has been done in the working groups that have met and to look at what needs to be done in the others. Indeed, some of those working groups have met in Moscow on this trip. Today, some of the chairs of the subgroups of the Bilateral Presidential Commission are in Moscow now meeting. So that will also be an agenda item with the foreign minister.

And then after going to the Embassy for a meet and greet to thank Embassy staff, she’s going to have a reception with civil society to meet with a range of pro-democracy and human rights groups. It’ll be an opportunity to underscore our interests and engagement on those issues. She will visit the Boeing Design Center in the afternoon, which will highlight U.S.-Russian economic cooperation. Boeing has hired a number of Russian (inaudible) Russian engineers who are working on plane design and other things there.

She will then go to meet President Medvedev at his house, rather than meeting at the Kremlin. He’s invited her to do this meeting at his home just south of Moscow. That’ll be an opportunity – a more relaxed setting to go through the same large set of issues that (inaudible). And then she will go to the opera with some of you to see Love for Three Oranges.

Do you want me to do the following day now?

QUESTION: Yeah. (Inaudible.)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY GORDON: (Inaudible) with Russian officials. She’s going to do interviews in the morning, including with Ekho Moskvy, an independent Russian radio station. She will attend and participate in a ribbon cutting to dedicate the Walt Whitman statue, which is part of a cultural exchange organized and sponsored by former Representative James Symington. And she’ll do that (inaudible) and then a town hall at Moscow State University, which will be an opportunity for her to engage in open and free-flowing discussion with the students at the university.

MR. KELLY: Okay, thank you, Phil. We’ll now --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, we’ve been – the number was not finalized at the beginning. It was – we’ve been working on that (inaudible) wanted to acknowledge the original plan. It was never finalized at the beginning (inaudible) a process to figure out how many were appropriate. And I think it’s at 16 now.

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PRN: 2009/T13-15

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