DATE=5/19/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / U-S (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-262561 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, has left Moscow after two days of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials about arms control and other issues. V-O-A Moscow Correspondent Peter Heinlein reports both countries are trying to downplay expectations of a breakthrough when President Clinton visits the Russian capital next month. TEXT: U-S national security adviser Sandy Berger traded pleasantries with newly-confirmed Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov Friday in front of television cameras at the Russian "white house" [the government headquarters in Moscow]. A day earlier, Mr. Berger posed for similar pictures at the Kremlin with President Vladimir Putin. Everything was smiles and handshakes. But behind the scenes, Mr. Berger has been doing some hard bargaining in hopes of resolving huge disagreements about the size of both countries' nuclear arsenals and U-S plans to build a limited missile defense system. A breakthrough is clearly what Presidents Clinton and Putin are hoping for when they hold their first summit next month in Moscow. But the gap between the U-S and Russian positions is said to be substantial. Even as Mr. Berger thrashed out the details, officials in Washington and Moscow were busy trying to downplay expectations for the summit. A senior U-S defense department official was quoted in Friday's Washington Post (newspaper) as saying neither country is "in a position to put grand compromises on the table, so both sides will be happy to come away with some kind of a process for further talks in the future." Russia's influential Kommersant newspaper Friday reported no progress has been made on the missile- defense-system issue. The newspaper notes that Russia steadfastly opposes the Clinton administration's missile defense plan, saying it would undermine the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. But independent defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer says despite the cautious predictions, there still is a fair chance of significant progress on arms control, if only because both presidents want it. /// FELGENHAUER ACT /// There's a political desire, from both presidents, mostly, to pull off some kind of a breakthrough in arms control. There's a reluctance at lower levels and opposition in both systems to reach a grand compromise, so I would say roughly the chance of a breakthrough on arms control is about 50-50. /// END ACT /// U-S officials in Moscow agree with the 50-50 assessment. With only two weeks to go before President Clinton's arrival on June 3rd, they say negotiations on critical arms-control issues could still go either way. There will be some announcement of arms control progress at the summit, but just how much is an open question. One senior U-S official says much will depend on the way talks go when Deputy Secretary State Strobe Talbott arrives next week to follow up on national security adviser Berger's talks. (Signed) NEB/PFH/JWH/WTW 19-May-2000 10:33 AM EDT (19-May-2000 1433 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .