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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Wins Putin's Praise As Easy Person to Talk To

At his summit meeting with Vladimir Putin, President George W. Bush praised the Russian president as "very straightforward and trustworthy." Putin returned the compliment on Wednesday.

Putin told journalists that Bush was "a colleague" who was well prepared, easy to talk to and even "sentimental" during the two leaders' first meeting last month in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Their shared experience in running large regional governments before becoming president — Putin as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg and Bush as governor of Texas — led to collegial relations, Putin said.

"And so maybe for this reason, it was rather easy for me to converse with him," Putin said. "That's one thing. And another thing, I do not share the opinion of those who say he does not have enough experience.

"He is a completely competent interlocutor with whom one can speak in a common language, understanding what it is we are talking about. This is a positive thing, because it is difficult to talk to a person who does not understand things."

Bush came "absolutely well prepared" and ready to defend U.S. positions without being unpleasant about it, Putin said.

"In the human sense, which is also an important thing, I don't know if he will like this or not, but it seemed to me that he is a rather warm person, pleasant to talk to, and I would even say, maybe I shouldn't say this, but he seemed to me a little sentimental.

"For me, this is also a good sign, although he vigorously defends his positions on questions of international security. … You know that we did not even try to agree on some positions but simply laid out our stance."

He said the summit produced "a very good basis to build personal relations on, and to find a solution to the complex questions that we could not find answers to."

The two leaders are due to have their second meeting later this week at the summit of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations plus Russia.