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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 00:35 GMT
Putin arrives at Bush ranch
Bush drives Putin to his ranch
Bush and Putin want to consolidate their new friendship
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived at US President George W Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas, for further talks on Washington's plan for a missile defence system.

When you grow up scared to death of them (the Russians) and it does an about-face, it's overwhelming

Crawford resident
President Putin's visit to Crawford follows the two leaders' talks yesterday at the White House, when President Bush offered to slash America's nuclear stockpiles.

The Russian leader has since offered to reduce Russia's long-range weapons by about one-third.

But while the two men hailed their warm post-Cold War relationship, they acknowledged that differences remained on the issue of missile defence and the subsequent fate of the bilateral Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

The Crawford visit is not to be all work. President Bush personally picked up President Putin and his wife in a jeep for a tour of the 650-hectare (1,600-acre) ranch, before a Texas-style feast on Wednesday evening.

"And we'll go for a couple of nice, long walks. The best diplomacy starts with getting to know each other. And I want him to know my values and I want to know his values," said President Bush.

But White House officials warned the media not to expect an accord on missile defence.

"This is one stop along the road. We'll make other stops after Crawford but each stop is built on the positive results of the earlier meetings," said White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

Common ground

Both men on Tuesday stressed that the relationship between their countries had been transformed from that of the Cold War era. President Bush said it had changed "from one based on suspicion to one based on trust".

US Patriot anti-missile system
Missile defence is still a major sticking point

Presidents Bush and Putin have been brought closer together by the 11 September attacks on the US. President Putin was the first world leader to send his condolences, and the two men said they would co-operate to beat terrorism.

They also found common ground on the issue of a future government in Afghanistan - President Bush said he and President Putin backed the UN call for a broadly-based and multi-ethnic administration in the ravaged country.

However, the BBC's Philippa Thomas noted that while President Bush said the Northern Alliance would find no preferential treatment at the negotiating table, Russia has been supporting the Alliance for years - a source of potential tension.

New trust

President Bush said the talks heralded "a new day in the long history of Russian-American relations, a day of progress and a day of hope."

Reflecting this new-found trust, the US leader said there was no need for "endless" discussions on arms control.

"I looked the man in the eye and shook his hand. But if you need to write it down on a piece of paper I'll be glad to do that," he said.

But Mr Putin stressed the need for a "reliable and verifiable agreement" on cutting arms.

President Bush also said he would work to end Cold War-era restrictions on bilateral trade.

Crawford welcome

The residents of Crawford were excited about having the Russian leader in town.

Some, like air force veteran Ray Seay, 66, noted that times have changed.

"The new ones seem a little different than Khrushchev and Stalin," he said.

His wife Patsy added: "When you grow up scared to death of them and it does an about-face, it's overwhelming."

The BBC's Steve Kingstone in Crawford, Texas
"They will enjoy some Texan home cooking"
See also:

14 Nov 01 | Americas
Texas town: Howdy comrade
14 Nov 01 | Americas
Putin pledges 'radical' arms cuts
13 Nov 01 | Americas
Vagueness the key to missile summit
12 Nov 01 | Europe
Hope for US-Russia summit
21 Oct 01 | Americas
Bush and Putin hail new relationship
21 Oct 01 | Americas
Bush and Putin's promising chemistry
24 Aug 01 | Americas
Russia unmoved on ABM
20 Jun 01 | Europe
Putin delivers summit verdict
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