DATE=6/3/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON - RUSSIA (L) NUMBER=2-263115 BYLINE=DEBORAH TATE DATELINE=BERLIN CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton begins a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow later today (Saturday) expected to focus on arms control. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from Berlin, where Mr. Clinton departed for the Russian capital. Text: U-S officials say they do not expect any arms control agreements to result from this summit. Even so, Mr. Clinton says just discussing the issue and presenting each country's views will make the visit important. U-S officials are encouraged by comments Mr. Putin made in an American television interview earlier this week in which he spoke about joint cooperation to reduce the global missile threat. They say that it marks the first time a Russian leader has acknowledged that such a threat exists. In the past, they say, Russia has portrayed U-S concerns as overblown. But these officials say the kind of cooperation Russia is proposing -- mostly diplomatic and political -- is not enough to counter the threat Washington says is posed by missile programs of what it calls "rogue states" such as North Korea and Iran. They underscore the need for a so-called missile shield. The United States wants to amend the 1972 Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow for deployment of a limited national missile defense system. But Russia vehemently opposes the plan, arguing it would re- launch an arms race. U-S officials say the proposal is not aimed at Russia, but at nations with more limited missile programs. Mr. Clinton is not expected to make a decision on whether to deploy the system until later this year. It is just one of several arms control issues on the agenda for the summit. The two leaders also are expected to discuss the status of talks on a proposed START-Three nuclear arms treaty, which would reduce each country's arsenals to not more than 25-hundred warheads each. Russia -- with its cash-strapped military -- wants deeper cuts, down to 15-hundred warheads apiece, a proposal rejected by top U-S defense officials. Despite the disagreements over arms control issues, the U-S administration is hoping for an accord on another issue -- non-proliferation. U-S National Security Advisor Sandy Berger says the pact would focus on the destruction of 34 tons of military-grade plutonium on each side. /// Berger Act /// This is an enormously important agreement if we are able to finalize it. That is enough plutonium, literally, to make tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. /// End Act /// Mr. Clinton and Mr. Putin have met twice before -- but this is their first meeting since Mr. Putin assumed the presidency last month. After enjoying a warm and friendly relationship with Mr. Putin's predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, Mr. Clinton hopes to forge a close partnership with the new Russian leader. U-S officials' initial reaction to President Putin has been mixed. They welcome his commitment to economic reform, but are concerned about his efforts to impose central control on regional leaders. The U-S and Russian leaders are expected to discuss economic and political issues, including reform and Moscow's crackdown on the breakaway region of Chechnya. In a speech in Aachen (Germany) Friday, Mr. Clinton said a top priority for the United States and its allies is to seek to integrate Russia into the rest of Europe. /// Clinton Act /// We must work to build a partnership with Russia that encourages stability, democracy and cooperative engagement with the West -- and full integration with global institutions. /// End Act /// While in Moscow, Mr. Clinton will also address the Russian Duma (lower house of parliament), the first American President ever to do so. (signed) NEB/DAT/JP 03-Jun-2000 08:54 AM EDT (03-Jun-2000 1254 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .