Transcript: George Stephanopoulos Interviews Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

MEDVEDEV: I would try to explain it as I understand the process today. For pretty long time and not without difficulties we spoke with our American partners about the agreement about the relationship between strategic offensive arms and the anti missile defensive systems. The point is this is about nuclear forces, or to be exact, with the difference in the configuration between those systems in Russia and the United States. And with the plans that we have and our American partners. As a result of very complicated deliberations, we got to the formula, which is being included in the preambles of the treaty. And that formula is a reflection of very famous judicial principles. Or let's say it this way, that formula says that there is an interconnection between the strategic offensive arms and missile defense. But it's mentioned there also about the circumstances which were the basis the signage of that treaty agreed upon by both parties. So if those circumstances will change then you would have, we would consider it as the reason to jeopardize the whole agreement. That doesn't mean that because of that rule, if the American side starts to build up the missile system that the treaty would automatically lose its power. But this is an additional argument which binds us and which gives us the opportunity to pose the question: is that quantity change of the defense missile configuration leading to a change of the situation in the quality concern? So if we in a certain moment evaluate that the quality of the situation has significantly changed, we would be forced to pose such a question to our American partners. But I would like to make sure there is no impression that any change would be a reason to abandon a signed agreement. Even more, we agreed upon and we spoke about with President Obama and talked about with American representatives that we should cooperate in the creation of global missile defense systems. But if that process will go eventually on such a scenario which, according to our impression, will lead to the quantity changes, then such a question could be posed by our side. And this is the principle of that reasoning, and understanding as well about that oral statement yesterday.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if Russia feels the systems that we built up is a threat, then you withdraw. That's the qualitative change?

MEDVEDEV: Then we can pose the question about premature end of that agreement. But I hope that something like that would not happen. And that we will be busy with those problems of sophistication of potential and the questions about the anti missile defense, we will consult each other and it's our wish to work on it together.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You mentioned that this language is in the preamble. Based on my reporting, I heard that in one of your final conversations negotiating with President Obama, you tried to get this language into the body of the text. And he pushed back quite forcefully. What kind of a negotiator is President Obama?

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