DATE=4/28/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON-RUSSIA ARMS (L) NUMBER=2-261810 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Administration officials say President Clinton intends to pursue further nuclear arms reductions and an accommodation with Moscow on missile defenses -- this, despite opposition from a powerful Republican Senate committee chairman. V-O-A's David Gollust reports from the White House. TEXT: The White House is rejecting the suggestion by Senator Jesse Helms that President Clinton wants an arms deal just to enhance his political legacy. And it says talks with Moscow will go forward despite the Senator's warning that any agreement submitted during the remainder of Mr. Clinton's term will be "dead on arrival" in his Foreign Relations Committee. The Helms statement came Tuesday as top administration officials were holding talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on possible new strategic arms cuts, and proposed amendments to the 1972 Anti- Ballistic Missile treaty that would allow the United States to build a missile defense system. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart says the administration's sole purpose in the talks is to enhance U-S national security: /// Lockhart Act /// Presidents who come and assume the responsibilities of this office understand that they have an absolute obligation to pursue the national security interests of this country. These discussions are for achieving goals that relate to our national security. And to ascribe political motivations here is just wrong. /// End Act /// Spokesman Lockhart said he hoped the remarks of Senator Helms -- a persistent critic of administration arms control efforts -- would not undercut negotiations Moscow and that he does not expect them to. The State Department confirmed Friday it has presented the Russian government with a draft of proposed A-B-M treaty amendments, even though Moscow has insisted it is not interested in any changes. President Clinton is expected to make a decision by mid-summer on whether to proceed with deployment of what U-S officials say would be a limited defense system designed to intercept a relative handful of missiles fired by North Korea or another of the so- called "rogue" states. However, Russia has described the A-B-M treaty as a foundation of the arms-control process and argues that even the limited defense system sought by the (Clinton) administration would undermine nuclear deterrence. Arms control analysts have suggested, none-the-less, that Moscow might ease its A-B-M treaty stance as part of a package providing for deeper-than-anticipated strategic arms cuts by both sides under a proposed START-Three treaty. The issue is expected to dominate the U-S-Russian summit meeting in Moscow the first week in June. /// Rest Opt /// The New York Times Friday published excerpts of what it said was the U-S document submitted to Moscow on anti-missile treaty changes. It insists that the envisaged U-S defense system would not weaken Russia's strategic deterrence potential and that Moscow -- even under proposed START-Three weapons levels -- would be able to "easily penetrate" the limited missile shield. (Signed) NEB/DAG/JP 28-Apr-2000 15:05 PM EDT (28-Apr-2000 1905 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .