RUSSIAN PRESIDENT LANDS INTIMATE GATHERING WITH BUSH FAMILY

3 JULY 2007

Fishing enthusiasts often tell the tale of 'the one that got away'. But there was no need for Russian President Vladamir Putin to tell stories this week as photographers captured every moment of his prime catch - hooked as US President George W Bush and his father and daughter looked on. The unusually relaxed moment was just one of several enjoyed by the political giants, as they spent time together at the Bush family compound at Walker's Point, Kennebunkport, in Maine.

Though relations between the pair have been frosty of late they appeared to put their differences aside for the informal break, which was intended to give them a chance to defuse recent tensions in private. And the Russian leader certainly seemed in affable mood amidst the Bush clan, at one point extending his bonhomie to the family's pet pooch by stopping down to give it a warm chuck under the chin.

Mr Bush meanwhile was the solicitous host, steering his guest up the stairs towards the main buildings in the Bush compound, and later leading him out across the front lawn to address the press.

He was entertaining his Russian counterpart in the spacious estate which has been in his family since his great grandparents built it in 1903. Featuring views over the Atlantic Ocean, the main house has nine bedrooms, four sitting rooms, an office, a den, a library, a dining room, a kitchen, and numerous patios and decks. And there's plenty to help keep a world weary statesman entertained with facilities including a pool, tennis court, dock, boathouse and guesthouse.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Like any successful fisherman Mr Putin looked fine pleased with the striped bass he hooked on a fishing trip with three generations of the Bush clan during a visit to their holiday home in MainePhoto: © AFPClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
In an unusually intimate image the Russian premier bends down to pet the Bushes' family pooch, as George Bush senior looks onPhoto: © AFP