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Putin Says U.S.-Russia Compromise Possible

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Putin Says U.S.-Russia Compromise Possible

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Putin Says U.S.-Russia Compromise Possible

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.

ALEX COHEN, host:

And I'm Alex Cohen.

In a few minutes, it's a hockey first. A Southern California team takes the Stanley Cup.

BRAND: But first, news from the G-8 Summit today on climate change. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel says the G-8 have agreed to seriously consider substantial cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, as much as 50 percent by the year 2050.

NPR's Don Gonyea is covering the summit for us and he joins us now from Germany. And Don, just how significant is this agreement to consider cutting greenhouse gas emissions?

DON GONYEA: We do know this is a pretty good victory for Angela Merkel because she will now be able to say that she got an agreement on climate change at the G-8 Summit that she is hosting. It's not completely what she wanted. It doesn't have the hard targets, the mandatory targets in terms of emission cuts that she'd been pushing for. But she feels she has advanced the dialogue. And again, listen to the language of this paper that they put out. It says we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan, which include at least halving of global emissions by 2050.

BRAND: And where is President Bush on this, because he had opposed specific caps on emissions?

GONYEA: He still has not agreed to specific caps on emission. Again, they're just agreeing to talk about it. So the White House does seem a bit conciliatory because this language is in there, and that's a bit unexpected. But again, it's an agreement to talk about it.

BRAND: Well, let's go to the other big story that's coming out of the summit and that is the meeting between the U.S. and Russia. President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin met today. What happened at that meeting?

GONYEA: Well, we were bracing for a possibly tense meeting because they have been clashing. The rhetoric has been escalating over the U.S. plans to put a missile defense shield in Europe. Putin has been very blunt. He has said that would be a threat to Russia. He has warned that if it goes in, he would have to retrain his missiles, his own missiles, at targets in Europe. So they went to their meeting and actually it turned out quite cordial. They found some common ground. First you'll get a sense of the tone from listening to President Bush here.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: And as a result to these conversations, I expect that there be better understanding of the technologies involved and the opportunities to work together. I told Vladimir, we're looking forward to having him up to my folks place in Maine in the beginning of July. And we'll be able to continue our discussions or bilateral discussions on a variety of issues.

GONYEA: Truth be told, though, part of the reason it may have gone so well is that Putin came to the table ready to deal. He put a surprise offer on the table, saying that Russia would actually participate in this missile shield in Europe if the U.S. would consider using an old Soviet base, a radar installation based in Azerbaijan as part of it. That was a surprise. Again, no deal has been worked out, but the U.S. says they're considering that.

BRAND: So not located where they had previously thought to locate it in Poland or the Czech Republic?

GONYEA: That's not clear at this point. Putin seems, though, ready and willing to sit down and talk and he says this can all be worked out as long as they do it transparently.

BRAND: And where are the other European leaders on this?

GONYEA: We have not heard from anybody else on this, but I can tell you nobody'd like to see this talk between the U.S. and Russia getting as rancorous as it has been. So if they are able to keep talking, that's the kind of thing they like at a G-8 Summit, agreements to keep talking on things.

BRAND: Now, I have heard that Washington diplomats were reportedly told not to use wireless devices because they were afraid of Russian eavesdropping? Is that true?

GONYEA: I have not confirmed that myself. It's not unusual for those kinds of precautions to be taken at summits like this because you just never know who's out there trying to intercept discussions. But it does kind of speak to the rising level of tensions that have been in the air leading up to this meeting between Presidents Bush and Putin.

BRAND: Okay, NPR's Don Gonyea at the G-8 Summit in Germany. Thanks for joining us.

GONYEA: A pleasure.

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