USIS Washington File

28 April 2000

Transcript: Albright, Ivanov Joint Press Briefing at the State Dept.

(Preserve ABM Treaty by adapting it to 21st century needs) (3670)

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told reporters at a joint press
briefing she conducted with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov at
the State Department late April 27 that "Both the United States and
Russia recognize the responsibility to reduce the threats posed to our
own citizens and to world peace by weapons of mass destruction and the
missiles that can deliver them.

"Accordingly," she said, "the Foreign Minister and I devoted much of
our time to strategic arms control, and I congratulated him on the
Duma's recent approval of the START II and Comprehensive Test Ban

"I also expressed American determination to continue working with
Russia to promote nuclear stability through further mutual reductions
in our arsenals and through preserving the ABM Treaty by adapting it
to meet 21st century needs," said Albright, referring to the bilateral
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972.

The meetings Ivanov had here in Washington with both President Clinton
and Secretary of State Albright the past few days were in preparation
for the June 4-5 meeting in Moscow between President Clinton and
President-elect Putin.

Albright said that she and Ivanov also reviewed regional security
issues, including the Middle East Peace Process, the planned
North-South Korea Summit in Pyongyang, and shared interests in Central
Asia and the Caucasus, among other issues the two discussed.

Ivanov agreed wih Albright on the importance of "strategic stability"
between the United States and Russia. Referring to discussions he had
in Washington the past few days, he said "We believe, and it has been
stressed at the highest level, the ABM Treaty of 1972 should remain a
cornerstone of the strategic stability and the basis for strategic
stability in the world. We are confident that this corresponds to the
interests of both Russia and the United States of America."

The Russian Foreign Minister held highest level discussions this week
not only at the White House and State Department but also at the
Pentagon and on Capitol Hill with various prominent U.S. Senators.

Following is the State Department transcript:

(begin transcript)

Office of the Spokesman

April 27, 2000


Treaty Room Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I am very pleased to have had time with my friend
and colleague, Foreign Minister Ivanov, here at the Department of
State. We've had much to talk about in these past two days, and
although we do not agree on all issues, as I told the Foreign
Minister, this is only to be expected. After all, we can't both be
right all the time.

In truth, we had some very in-depth conversations about subjects that
are at the heart of our bilateral relationship, as we prepare for the
meeting of our Presidents in June. We obviously spent a lot of time on
issues of nonproliferation and arms control.

Both the United States and Russia recognize a responsibility to reduce
the threats posed to our own citizens and to world peace by weapons of
mass destruction and the missiles that can deliver them.

Accordingly, the Foreign Minister and I devoted much of our time to
strategic arms control, and I congratulated him on the Duma's recent
approval of START II and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaties. I
also expressed American determination to continue working with Russia
to promote nuclear stability through further mutual reductions in our
arsenals and through preserving the ABM Treaty by adapting it to meet
21st century needs.

We also discussed the need to stem the flow of sensitive technology to
countries that could threaten both our nations. To this end, we have
made significant progress, but ongoing vigilance and further concrete
steps are required.

The Foreign Minister and I reviewed regional security issues, as well.
As co-sponsors of the Middle East Peace Process, we focused on the
recent visits to Washington of Prime Minister Barak and Chairman
Arafat, and on the need for cooler heads to prevail in southern

We talked about the importance of strengthening the forces of
tolerance in the Balkans, including Kosovo, and the requirement for
maintaining a vigorous international presence.

On Korea, we both welcomed the upcoming North-South Summit, and agreed
to continue working together to address common concerns.

We also have shared interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The
zero-sum thinking of the Cold War is especially irrelevant here. The
US and Russia both gain by helping countries in this region to
strengthen sovereignty, achieve democratic progress and counter
transnational threats.

Trade and investment were also on our agenda. At lunch yesterday with
Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, we discussed ways for Russia to improve
its investment climate, including through the ratification of our
Bilateral Investment Treaty.

Finally, the Foreign Minister and I resumed our dialogue on Chechnya.
The United States looks to Russia to heed the recent call by the UN
Human Rights Commission for an investigation of credible reports of
human rights violations.

As I think the Foreign Minister agrees, there is no military solution
to the conflict in Chechnya. The sooner Russia achieves a political
solution, the sooner the suffering of the Chechen people will end and
Russia's international standing will recover.

As we saw again during these meetings, the United States and Russia
have a broad range of important business to conduct, and we can do so
in a businesslike and productive manner.

President Clinton told Minister Ivanov that he is looking forward to
his summit with President-elect Putin in that spirit. And I believe
that our discussions this week have gone far to preparing the ground
for that very important event.

Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: First of all, I would like to sincerely thank
the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, for the warm reception
accorded to the Russian delegation in Washington. At the core of the
meetings here with President Clinton, Secretary of State and other
representatives of the US Administration and the leaders of the US
Senate and the business interests of the United States and the
governor of Texas, Mr. Bush, we put the questions of the furtherance
of the Russian-American cooperation.

Special attention in this connection was paid to the preparations for
the forthcoming summit meeting in Moscow between President Putin and
President of the United States Clinton. Both sides are resolved to do
their utmost for the Moscow Summit to become a major event in the
Russian-American relations, conducive to the strengthened
international security and stability, and a constructive development
of interaction between our two countries. We will have a very busy
time to prepare this agenda.

As Madame Albright mentioned, an important place in this work belongs
to the issues related to strategic stability. After the ratification
of the package of agreements on START II and the ABM in 1997, as well
as the CTBT, favorable opportunities open for our interaction in this
area, including timely initiation of negotiations without delay on
further deep cuts of the strategic offensive arms within START III. We
expect that the US side would ratify a similar package of instruments,
and this wish was made known yesterday during my meeting with

At the same time, quite naturally, there are certain differences of
view, sometimes considerable differences, having to do with the plans
to deploy in United States the National Missile Defense System. These
issues were discussed in detail both at the State Department and at
the Pentagon. We believe, and it has been stressed at the highest
level, the ABM treaty of 1972 should remain a cornerstone of the
strategic stability and the basis for strategic stability in the
world. We are confident that this corresponds to the interests of both
Russia and the United States of America.

In this connection, during the consultations in Washington, the
Russian side proposed an alternative program of action that would
enable, in our view, us to adequately respond to new threats related
inter alia to the threat of the proliferation of missiles and missile
technologies. Of principal importance is to address those issues on
the basis of dialogue and taking into account mutual interests of each
other. The Russian side is fully prepared for it.

In specific terms, we discussed the main regional issues, including
the situation in the Balkans, the Middle East settlement, and we also
had an exchange on the situation in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Both sides stressed the importance and the urgency of cooperation in
fighting such a global challenge as international terrorism.

Considerable attention was devoted to the prospect of economic
interaction between Russia and the United States of America. We have
agreed that the most considerable economic and trade projects would
receive the patronage of the leaders of the two countries.

Now, we in Russia developed a set of serious measures to improve
investment climate and to protect the rights of foreign investors,
including through the adoption of relevant legal acts. And it is
beginning to bring first results, as supported by my meetings with
numerous leaders of the business interests of the United States. But
one must recognize, at the same time, that our capabilities or the
potential of our relations are not yet realized to the full extent and
we have a major work ahead.

We are satisfied in general by the negotiations held, and primarily by
the environment atmosphere of these negotiations, which was frank and
constructive. And we were focused on finding solutions to the
questions that we are faced with now. At the same time, negotiations
confirmed once again that the positive experience of the eight years
of cooperation serves as a good basis for furtherance of interaction
between our countries in different areas to ensure continuity in our

Thank you.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, if I understand what the Foreign Minister
particularly what he said yesterday correctly, the demarcation
agreement of 1997 on the kind of missile tests that would be
permissible - both sides agree - under the ABM Treaty could be a basis
for resolving this dispute over anti-missile defenses. And I was at
that meeting and the US was ecstatic with the results of the meeting.
Apparently, the US got everything approved that it wanted approved.

Is there a basis now, or at least are you closer to getting around
this problem? And if you don't mind me tagging on one little thing: is
Senator Jesse Helms a new problem for you?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT:  Let me say, first of all -

Q:  I thought you had him neutralized.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say on the demarcation, we were very - are
very - I pleased with what it did. And it is a very important
agreement. But what it does is deal with the issue of shorter range
missiles. And we have a new problem. That is the issue. It does not
deal with intercontinental ballistic missiles, and that is our concern
about how we deal with the new threats.

We have spoken before, and we did again during this meeting, about
cooperating on theater missile defense, and we think that it can
supplement but it is not sufficient for dealing with the problems that
we have. And so I think we will continue to talk about it.

As far as what was said yesterday from the Hill, I believe that the
American people support a policy that seeks to both further reduce
nuclear dangers left over from the Cold War and to address new
threats. And we are going to continue to pursue this policy in the
months ahead.

I don't think we can take a pause for the rest of the year in
defending US national interests, because neither the threats are
taking a pause, nor would it be suitable for us not to be concerned
about national interests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the
end of this Administration. So I disagree with what Senator Helms said

Q: Russian State TV and Radio Company. Ms. State Secretary, will you
please ask such a question? Can you imagine the future when the United
States build up its new defense system but Russia withdraw from all
the military treaties? If yes, how can you see such a future?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I am hoping that, as a result of what will
be continued discussions - they were very intensive here now, they
will continue to be - we will not be in that kind of a position,
because I think that we have a great deal that we need to do together
and we will continue to have very intensive discussions. We are very
involved in analyzing the various problems. I think we had very, very
good and productive meetings here and so I would hope that we could
continue to talk intensively.

Q: Ben Barber of The Washington Times. Madame Albright, is it possible
for the United States to build a limited National Missile Defense,
such as the one that's been thought of in Alaska with about 100
interceptors, without bringing this before the US Senate for approval,
to allow Jesse Helms to oppose it in his way?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that, obviously, we want to have support
for this agreement but, first, we have to get it. And we are going to
be involved in intensive discussions.

And as I said, I believe the American people want us to end some of
the problems that were left over from the Cold War and deal with the
new threats, and that's what we are doing. And I think that we are
following what the American people basically want.

Q: Could you describe what economic documents are now being prepared
for the forthcoming summit?

And to both foreign ministers, when the START III negotiations could
be expected?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I think that today, now, it would be
premature to name any specific documents to be signed in the course of
the summit meeting in Moscow. This is precisely the stuff that we will
have to discuss in the near future, including agenda and specific
documents. But, at the same time, I would like to stress that now -
and I realized this during my negotiations, including with the
business interests of the United States - the period of disenchantment
is over in the United States related to August of 1998, and they
realize all too well here that some positive results have been
achieved and recorded in our economy in all economic areas -
indicators, rather.

I, for my part, tried to describe the plans that are now in the making
in the Russian Government in terms of further strengthening of the
legal base, basis for the market economy that would further the basics
of the market mechanisms, and create appropriate and encouraging
investment climate. My impression is that this information produces
hope amongst the American investors and the capital in connection with
coming to the Russian markets. At least we will facilitate it.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We had a long discussion about this yesterday. And
I think that, in terms of investment, America is already the largest
investor in Russia. But I think that what is very important is for
there to be a framework established that would encourage increased
investment, and it requires a whole set of pieces of legislation, I
think, on the Russian side that would give additional confidence to
American and other investors.

In terms of START III, I think that President Yeltsin and President
Clinton in Cologne said that they wanted to have ABM and START III
discussions go on in a parallel form. And we are involved, I think, as
I've now said a couple of times, in very intensive discussions on arms
control issues and on NMD issues.

Q: Madame Secretary, a short time ago, while the two of you were back
there talking, Fidel Castro in an interview with CNN directly accused
the State Department of throwing up roadblocks and preventing Cuban
diplomats from seeing Elian Gonzalez and his father out at the Wye
River Plantation. Is this true?

And, secondly, on Iran, how concerned are you about this conservative,
hard-line crackdown on Iranian newspapers, and do you think that they
will succeed in intimidating Iranian voters ahead of next month's
second round of Majlis elections? Thank you.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I think that we have - the State
Department has fulfilled its appropriate role We've granted visas to
these playmates, the children that are coming with their either
parents or chaperones, and we will look at the cases of Cuban
diplomats that want to go to Wye on a case-by-case basis.

On Iran, I think we clearly are very concerned about what is happening
there now, and would hope that this is not the overwhelming trend
because we were very encouraged by the Majlis elections and some of
the other activities there that indicated that there was a movement
towards reform.

I think we're going to have to watch this very carefully. There really
clearly are two contending approaches for the future of Iran. And in
speeches that I've given and in comments, I have pointed out a number
of times that those who have voted for President Khatami or for the
Majlis reform members are the younger generation, and they are the
future of Iran. And so we will watch this very carefully.

Q: Elaine Monaghan of Reuters. Foreign Minister Ivanov, you mentioned
that you wanted the United States to ratify a similar package of
documents to those approved in Moscow. Do you mean ratification of the
CTBT, or is there a wider array of demands that you have?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I would like to remind you that Russia
ratified the START II Treaty and ratified agreements on the ABM of
1997. Also, the CTBT has been ratified. I think that the ratification
of all of these instruments in the United States would serve the
interests of the United States and the interests of non-proliferation
of nuclear weapons and the interests of the further reduction of
strategic offensive arms.

Q: Do you have an impression that on the issues that separate us
certain breakthroughs have been achieved? And are you satisfied after
the discussions, difficult discussions, of these issues with Secretary

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: First of all, I have a feeling that both in
Washington and in Moscow - and I'm speaking of myself here - there is
a desire to find solutions to the issues where we differ. Indeed,
these include the issues of, as we say, vital importance that would
determine the future policies in the world and the relations between
our two countries.

I came to realize after numerous meetings, primarily with the US
President Mr. Clinton and after other negotiations, that there is an
understanding and desire within the United States to find such
solutions that will take into account the interests of our countries
and would further strengthen security in the world. This gives us hope
to continue actively to work together and, in this sense, the
forthcoming summit meeting between the two presidents, Clinton and
Putin, in early June in Moscow would be of particular importance.

Q: I have a question for both. Mr. Minister, the first question to
you. The new Russian military doctrine actually says that Russia can
use nuclear weapons if all other means did not work, plus it actually
extends the nuclear umbrella towards it allies - without defining who
the allies are. So who are the allies of Russia? That's first. And
what kind of influence will this new doctrine have on the
international stability?

And Mrs. Secretary of State, I wanted to ask you if there were
consultations, if this was the topic of this discussions in
Washington. And what's your opinion; what kind of impact will it have
on the international stability? Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: As far as our new military doctrine is
concerned, it is based on the concept of national security which takes
into account the prevailing realities of the world. Unfortunately,
last year, in connection with the action by NATO, in connection with
the new concept of NATO that was adopted by it, with the increased
threat from the international terrorism, and due to other challenges,
we had to take certain measures that ensured our national interests,
that would ensure the defense capability of my country. Thus, the
changes introduced to our military doctrine. It does not mean that
nuclear weapons would be used as weapons of attack. The nuclear
weapons would be used in the event when the national interest, the
security of Russia, would be put at danger. As far as the allies that
you mentioned, this is an issue that will be considered in each
particular case, and I'm not able to discuss any particular countries

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say that we did not specifically discuss
this issue but, from our perspective, NATO - and the enlarged NATO -
is not an offensive alliance; it is a defensive alliance and is based
on the idea that there is a community that wants to be a part of it.
And that is something that we have talked about, is what the
enlargement of NATO has meant for Russia. It is not an anti-Russian

Also, I would like to say that one of the things that we have been
talking about is what the new threats are and how they should be dealt
with, which is why we are proposing the National Missile Defense and
also deep cuts in nuclear weapons. That is the way we think it is
appropriate to deal with the threats that we face in the 21st century.

(end transcript)

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