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Putin's Talks With Former U.S. Presidents Led to Kennebunkport, Russian Sources Say

July 5 (EIRNS)—The invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet with President George W. Bush at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, came from the senior Bush, ex-President George H.W. Bush, during his talks with Putin in Moscow at the end of April, according to Russian reports. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton represented the United States at the funeral of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Both of them had the opportunity to talk with President Putin.

Several days later, on April 27, Putin received former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Kremlin, for their seventh tete-a-tete during the past six yers. Putin then announced his "pleasure" in supporting the formation of a new strategic working group, called "Russia-USA: A Look Into the Future." It is to be headed by Kissinger and former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov, a regular adviser to Putin. The White House also issued a statement, welcoming the formation of the new group, on April 27.

According to Itar-Tass, the possible members of the group are quite a mix, including George Shultz, former Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh, former Senator Sam Nunn, and former Soviet Ambassador to the USA Yuli Vorontsov. Primakov said that its first meeting would take place in Moscow in July.

The role being played by the senior Bush was highlighted in a July 4 commentary by Shamsudin Mamayev of Eurasiahome.org titled "Kennebunkport: Solitaire, or Poker?" Asking why President Bush publicly reacted to Putin's concept of a European-wide anti-missile defense system, Mamayev wrote, "Evidently his father, ex-President George Bush Sr. ... has a sobering influence on him. He is the political antipode to his own son, having in his day categorically refused to storm Baghdad, and having traveled to Kiev to plead personally for Ukraine not to leave the USSR."

Remarking that it was Bush Sr. who personally invited Putin to Kennebunkport, Mamayev also brought in the initiation of the Kissinger-Primakov group. In an additional comment, not confirmed elsewhere, Mamayev reported that the day after his meeting with Kissinger, Putin phoned President Bush to put forward, informally and for the first time, the proposal to use Azerbaijan's Gabala radar facility for joint anti-missile operations, instead of the installaments in Poland and the Czech Republic that Russia opposes. Five weeks later, at the Heiligendamm G-8 summit, Putin made the proposal official.