Transcript: George Stephanopoulos Interviews Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

MEDVEDEV: I think that Mr. Obama as the President of the United States of America, he's pursuing the interests of the United States. And me as President of the Russian Federation, I'm trying to defend our interests. The point is that we don't have such huge plans about creation of missile defense systems like in America. But we do understand ourselves that if you build up or escalate the missile defense means to certain levels, they will be able to break the parity. Because what's the basis of today's agreement is the strategic offensive arms. It's based on that, the parties by compromising, by consulting with experts, came to the conclusion that there is a certain parity between us. The parity of certain delivery means and certain warheads, so we are lowering it down, the level of delivery systems and warheads. And we're setting the limit, which is much lower than in the 1991 agreement. But if the fixed parity is being preserved, which is 700 I believe, and 800 undeveloped and developed and 750 heads and the other party radically multiplies the number and power of its missile defense system, obviously that missile defense system is indeed becoming a part of the strategic offensive nuclear forces. Because it's capable of blocking the action of the other side. So an imbalance occurs, and this would be certainly the reason to have a review of that agreement. There is something, and I would like to remind you, I believe you have also a judicial background in your education, there is a famous latin proverb: clausula rebus sixtantus, the agreement is being considered in effect as long as the circumstances in which it was born remain. If they change, that would be the reason for a review of the agreement. That's for any agreement. Such circumstances in this case are related to the development of the anti missile defense system.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've now met with President Obama many times. At least 15 meetings and phone calls.

MEDVEDEV: Sixteen times.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sixteen. Okay, I knew it was 15. I wasn't sure about the 16. What do you make of Barack Obama the man?

MEDVEDEV: He's very comfortable partner, it's very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people – I won't name anyone by name – he's a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You had somebody in your mind, I think. (LAUGHS)

MEDVEDEV: Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don't want to offend anyone. He's eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality for a politician. Because any politician is to a certain degree a mentor. They preach something. And the ability to listen to their partner is very important for the politician. And he is pretty deeply emerged in the subject, so he has a good knowledge of what he's talking about. There was no instance in our meetings with Mr. Obama where he wasn't well prepared for the questions. This is very good. And after all, he's simply a very pleasant man with whom it's a pleasure to deal with.

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