At the Group of Eight summit in western Canada, an agreement has been reached on an ambitious multi-year program to assist Russia in dismantling its unneeded stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
The deal was concluded Thursday during a one-on-one meeting between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Under the agreement, the United States and its summit partners will provide Russia with $20 billion over ten years to help dismantle the weapons. The United States will provide $10 billion dollars, a billion dollars per year, while the Japanese, Western Europeans and Canadians will collectively provide the rest.
Western nations have been concerned about the security of the Russian stockpiles, fearing that weapons of mass destruction could find their way into the hands of terrorists. In return for the aid, Russia will open its storage facilities, including some submarine bases, to western specialists. The aid money will also be available to dismantle weapons in other former Soviet republics.
Both Mr. Putin and Mr. Bush say they are united in the war on terrorism. During their one-on-one meeting, President Bush referred to Russia as a strong ally in fighting terror. Mr. Putin joined Mr. Bush in expressing concern about fraudulent accounting practices by some American corporations, saying that the global economy is affected by what happens in the United States.
At this year's summit it was agreed Russia will take a turn in the rotating chairmanship of these annual meetings of eight world leaders. Russia will host the Group of Eight summit in 2006, following planned meetings in France, the United States, and Britain.