November 2, 1999


6:15 P.M. (L)

               THE WHITE HOUSE

                   Office of the Press Secretary
                                             (Oslo, Norway)
For Immediate Release
November 2, 1999

                                BACKGROUND BRIEFING BY
                          SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL

                                       Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel
                                                     Oslo, Norway

6:15 P.M. (L)



     The second issue that we discussed was the CFE Treaty, the
Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty.  We stressed from the outset
that compliance with the treaty is important, and that in order to be able
to move forward with the treaty, there needs to be an assurance that the
parties will eventually come into compliance.  Russia has declared, and
everybody knows that, currently that they have exceeded the CFE levels and
the flank area as a result of the operations in the North Caucasus area.

     Yesterday, Prime Minister Putin indicated, made a statement that
Russia intends to comply with these levels.  He also committed himself,
committed Russia to be transparent about the force levels in the North
Caucasus.  Those are important steps.

     In addition to those, one of the things that we stressed was the need
to reach agreements between Russia and Moldova and Russia and Georgia on
Russian withdrawal from those territories.  The CFE Treaty provides for
host government consent for the stationing of foreign forces on their
territory, and as part of that, one of the things that both Moldova and
Georgia have indicated is that they want to negotiate withdrawal schedules,
Russian troops, and that we expect there to be a serious dialogue on these
issues.  Both Moldova and Georgia have made serious proposals which the
Russians are seeking to address.


   Q    How do you expect the CFE agreement to be handled in Istanbul?
Do you expect them to come to an agreement, to resolve this difference, or
do you think it's going to still be left hanging?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  First of all, to put in context, I
would say that there has been, in fact, a lot of progress already made
toward adapting a CFE treaty.  And last March there was a joint statement
issued in Vienna that set out the basic parameters for the adapted treaty.
And many of the key issues were hammered out already at that point.

     Some of the outdated elements of the treaty -- particularly its
division into two blocks -- some of the provisions on reduction of levels
were already addressed at that point, and that's particularly important to
keep in mind.

     There still are those other questions which I mentioned, which are
very important in the overall scope of the treaty. I think they are
certainly doable and resolvable, but it's going to take the parties
involved, particularly the Russians and Moldovans, the Russians and the
Georgians, sitting down at a table and working through their differences,
particularly on withdrawal schedules for Russian forces.

     Q    Do you expect it to be done in Istanbul or not?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The negotiators are still working.
We would like it to be done, but it will be done when we have a good


     THE PRESS:  Thank you.

                                     6:50 P.M. (L)