WASHINGTON – What comes first, the chicken or the arms talks?
Both take equal precedence in talks between the United States and Russia, according to a White House spokesman.
President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke for 15 minutes Tuesday -- their second conversation in less than a week -- on opening up Russian markets to U.S. poultry and reducing the number of offensive nuclear weapons.
"Discussions are progressing" on a strategic framework to codify agreed-upon nuclear weapons reductions, said White House spokesman Sean McCormack. Both presidents also said they were "satisfied that negotiators had signed an interim protocol to resolve the Russian ban on U.S. chicken imports."
Bush heads to Moscow and St. Petersburg next month for a comprehensive summit that will likely formalize in writing a weapons reduction and include discussions on a new NATO-Russian relationship.
Among the issues still to be worked out are the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and a U.S. proposal for a new way to count warheads as the United States and Russia reduce their strategic arsenals to 1,700-2,200 each.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.