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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Elder Bush Sees Frank Talks, Fishing During Putin's Visit

For MTGeorge H.W. Bush
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine -- Former President George H.W. Bush said he hoped that this weekend's summit between his son, President George W. Bush, and President Vladimir Putin would strengthen relations between the countries by building friendships.

Bush, who is a big believer in "personal diplomacy," said it was important to get the world leaders away from their entourages.

"Sit down, no necktie, sit in a beautiful house overlooking the sea and talk frankly without a lot of straphangers and note-takers, people that have separate agendas handing you notes and all of that," Bush said.

He said it was not his idea to invite Putin to the family's seaside estate at Walker's Point, but he wholeheartedly endorsed it. He said he would not be part of the discussions between the leaders but would try to show what family life is like at Walker's Point and give them the opportunity to talk. Fishing, no doubt, will be part of the equation. "Fishing is good for the soul. Fishing is good for one person to get to know another," he said.

Bush has invited plenty of world leaders to the family home before and after he lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton. He said one of the most important visits was with French President Francois Mitterand. He credited their ice-breaker at Kennebunkport with building trust, and noted that France backed the United States during Operation Desert Storm. "This kind of meeting can be a meeting of reassurance that the United States wants good relations with Russia," he said.