16 August 2000

White House Report, Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Clinton phones Russian President Putin


President Clinton has again offered U.S. assistance to help Russia
rescue its sailors trapped in a submarine in the Barents Sea northeast
of Finland.

Clinton made the offer in a 25-minute late morning phone call August
16 to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"President Clinton expressed his concern over the situation regarding
the Russian submarine, and renewed his offer to help," David
Stockwell, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told the
Washington File.

In response, Putin said "he was actively considering offers of outside
assistance," Stockwell said.

Clinton first offered U.S. help August 14 through his National
Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, who talked to his Russian counterpart
by phone, the spokesman said.

The two leaders also discussed the upcoming Millennium Summit hosted
by the United Nations in New York next month, which both leaders are
expected to attend, and Clinton "again raised his concern over Edmund
Pope," an American from Pennsylvania who has been imprisoned since
April 3 in Moscow on espionage charges.

"President Clinton has raised the issue several times and will keep it
high on his agenda," Stockwell said.

Clinton, who returned to the White House August 15 from the Democratic
National Convention in Los Angeles, was returning a phone call made to
him last week by Putin, Stockwell said.

Putin had called to discuss his recent meeting in Moscow with
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, Stockwell said.

The two leaders did discuss that meeting in their August 16
conversation, Stockwell reported, but he did not know the substance of
that conversation.