Thursday, March 15, 2012

Putin at Camp David

President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin  at Camp David - Sept. 26, 2003 

5/9/2012 UPDATE:  Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G8 Summit and will send Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev instead. 

When the White House unexpectedly announced that the G8 Summit was going to be held at Camp David instead of Chicago, several theories emerged regarding the reason for the switch. Occupy protesters believed the move was made because the White House feared the upcoming protests in Chicago. President Obama said that he wanted to meet at Camp David because it would provide a more intimate setting for discussions with the G8 leaders.

However, the Russian press reported that the move was made in an attempt to improve relations with President-elect Vladimir Putin since he may not attend the NATO Summit if progress is not made in missile defense negotiations. The Kommersant newspaper wrote "an undesirable situation could occur if after the G8 Summit Putin decides to walk out of the Chicago meeting”.

So, I thought it would be interesting (and timely) to write a post about Putin's previous visit to Camp David. President George W. Bush met with Putin at Camp David in September 2003 to discuss bilateral cooperation.

According to this story in Pravda, the two leaders arrived at the retreat in separate helicopters and headed toward Putin's cabin (which looks like Dogwood from the above photo) in a caravan of 15 golf carts.

The full text of the remarks of President Bush and President Putin can be read on this archived version of

The only other 2012 G8 leader that has been to Camp David before is French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who met with President Bush there in 2008.  (Update 5/6/12: Sarkozy lost his re-election bid to 
François Hollande)

Putin - Bush press conference at Camp David

President Bush and President Putin in a discussion in the Aspen Lodge

Update 3/21/12:  When asked if President-elect Putin will meet with President Obama when he attends the G8 Summit at Camp David, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied diplomatically:  "I assume with much certainty that attending the G8 summit, which will take take in the United States, without meeting with the U.S. President would be impossible".

Sources: The White HouseNew York Times; Voice of Russia; OccupiedChicagoTribune; The Washington Post; Reuters; Pravda; RIA Novosti

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