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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 18:38 GMT
No Bush-Putin missile agreement
Lyudmila Putin presents a flower to Laura Bush as their husbands look on
The Crawford summit was not all work
Russia and the United States have failed to reach agreement on US plans for a missile defence shield, despite three days of talks between George W Bush and Vladimir Putin.

The two men - who met at Mr Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas - praised each other warmly at a joint press conference on Thursday.

But Mr Bush said they had a "difference of opinion" over missile defence.

Mr Putin is a man who loves his country as much as I love mine

George W Bush
Russia strongly opposes Washington's plans to abrogate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, which bans systems like the one Mr Bush wants.

Mr Bush and Mr Putin spoke to students at a school in Crawford after their meeting ended.

Mr Bush called the Russian leader a "man who will make a huge difference".

Mr Putin said the US president was "one who does what he says".

Both drew laughter with light-hearted comments about the heat in Texas and the cold in Russia.

But they were unable to paper over the significant differences between their positions with jokes or positive spin.

"We differ in the ways and means we perceive that are suitable for reaching the same objective", Mr Putin said.

Arms reduction

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

US Patriot anti-missile system
Missile defence is still a major sticking point
The Russian leader later offered to reduce Russia's long-range weapons by about one-third.

The Crawford visit was not 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.

White House officials had earlier 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

Mr Bush stressed in Crawford that the relationship between their countries had been transformed from that of the Cold War era.

When I was in high school, Russia was an enemy - now the high school students can know Russia is a friend

George W Bush
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 have also found common ground on the issue of a future government in Afghanistan - President Bush said on Wednesday 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.

The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"Amid the back slapping was the important work"
See also:

15 Nov 01 | Americas
Bush and Putin 'best of buddies'
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
24 Aug 01 | Americas
Russia unmoved on ABM
20 Jun 01 | Europe
Putin delivers summit verdict
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