US President George W. Bush praised Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Monday as a "smart guy" who means what he says, even as they clashed on US missile defence plans.
The two leaders, holding their first face-to-face meeting since Medvedev took the reins from Vladimir Putin in May, also highlighted their cooperation in diplomatic efforts to resolve nuclear disputes with Iran and North Korea.
"There are topics on which we are making progress, such as Iran and North Korea, but there topics on which we diverge, such as the missile shield and European matters, but there are possibilities for agreement," said Medvedev at the meeting on the fringes of a summit of rich nations in Japan.
"While there's some areas of disagreement, there's also areas where I know we can work together for the common good," said the US president. "I found him to be a smart guy who understood the issues very well."
"Iran is an area where Russia and the United States have worked closely in the past and will continue to work closely to convince the regime to give up its desire to enrich uranium," he added.
Seven years after Bush declared he had looked into Putin's eyes at their first meeting, seen his soul, and deemed him trustworthy, the US president declined to offer a similar assessment of the new Russian leader.
"I'm not going to sit here and psychoanalyse the man, but I will tell you that he's very comfortable, he's confident," said Bush. "You may not agree with what he tells you, but at least you know it's what he believes.”