The following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" today at 4:00 PM ET. All references must be sourced to CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo."
Dr. CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Thank you, nice to be with you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: You were present during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit with President Bush. What came out of that meeting?
Dr. RICE: Well, it was a very good meeting. I think the atmosphere at Kennebunkport was very relaxed and that was good. We have our differences with Russia, but at this meeting, I think we were able to emphasize a potential area of cooperation. The issue of defending against missiles from states like Iran or... (technical difficulties) ...Russia's made some proposals that they will like to explore and indeed we will explore a kind of regional architecture for dealing with long-range missile threats in the future. They had an extensive discussion of other important issues like cooperation to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. They talked about the importance of trade. Russia's, of course, trying to exceed to the World Trade Organization and they had an extensive discussion of how Russia's domestic politics are unfolding. So all in all, it was a very good meeting, very relaxed.
BARTIROMO: Some people were surprised about Putin's proposals, that it was a little too generous. What was behind it?
Dr. RICE: I think the Russians after a period now of just saying no, no, no to what we intend to do in terms of missile defense decided to come with some of their own ideas. Now, we don't agree. We believe that we still need to continue to move forward with the Czech Republic and with Poland, but we do agree that this could be an area for which US-Russian cooperation could make a gigantic leap forward. Because this is a threat, the threat of long-range ballistic missiles that we all face. It is a threat that needs to be addressed on behalf of the entire international community, and so it was--I think, very heartening and now Secretary Gates and I will join our Russian counterparts, Defense Minister Serdyukov and Foreign Minister Lavrov for extensive discussions of how to move forward sometime early in the fall.
BARTIROMO: How secure or confident should you US businesses be in terms of investing in Russia? Is it safe for US businesses to be pouring billions of dollars into Russia?
Dr. RICE: Well, of course it's an assessment that every business has to make. I think many businesses are going there and have been doing well. We talk to the Russians all the time about the importance of rule of law, about the importance of not changing contractual terms once they have been made.
Because ultimately, the confidence of the business community in Russia isn't going to be what the US government thinks of it, it's going to be the assessment that businesses make of whether or not Russia is going to live up to its contracts. And I think on balance, it's obviously a better story than it had been in the past, but in the oil and gas sector, we have had concerns about the tendencies toward nationalization of some of the industry and we've made those known to the Russians.
BARTIROMO: Which, of course, is exactly what Russia is doing and some people say it is using oil as a weapon. What is the rule of government when in fact, Russia uses oil as a weapon, when and if it does, and keeps US companies out?
Dr. RICE: Well, we've been very clear with the Russians that this turn in policy toward greater involvement of the Russian state in oil and gas industry and changing the terms of contracts is not going to be good for the international system, because after all, what you want is reliability of supply, you want reliability that is based on very long term contracts that can be understood. Because these are--in the oil and gas industry, extremely long-tail investments. You're not going to see the benefit of some of these investments for a very long time, so people have to have a stable contractual environment and we've made that point to the Russians. It's also important to Russia to be able to attract capital and to attract technology to develop their oil fields, their oil and gas fields, many of which suffer from lack of access to the very best technologies. And it's also important, and this has been the US government's view to have diversification of supply, diversification of supply roots and, of course, diversification in terms of alternative energy. So if you have a comprehensive approach to energy across all of those areas, I think you will help to minimize the affects should there be the effort to use oil and gas as a weapon.
BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about the idea of keeping America great and competitive around the world. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations has said in the wake of the Iraq war quote, "The American era in the Middle East is over." And that as a result, American global power, its super power status, has been seriously weakened in this new century. Your reaction.
Dr. RICE: Oh, Dr. Haass is a very good friend, but I have to just simply disagree. Everywhere that I go in the world, people desperately look to American leadership in all of their world's most difficult problems. Whether in non-proliferation in terms of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, efforts at poverty alleviation, efforts at leading the fight against AIDS and malaria as this president has been doing, leading the effort for democracy for those who've been denied it, helping to support those who are seeking democracy. You can look at any region of the world and the United States is still the country to which those regions look for leadership.