June 4, 2000


8:10 P.M. (L)

                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Moscow, Russia)
              For Immediate Release                        June 4, 2000

                               PRESS BRIEFING BY

                                 National Hotel
                                        Moscow, Russia

8:10 P.M. (L)

     MR. HAMMER:  Good evening, everyone.  Tonight, we have Deputy
Secretary of State Strobe Talbott who will be briefing you on the results
of the just-concluded summit between President Clinton and President Putin.
Mr. Talbott has an engagement later on, so this won't go on terribly long,
but here is Mr. Talbott.

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Thank you, Mike.  Good evening to all of
you.  I think it was clear from the presidential press conference that you
all just attended, or at least watched on television, that President
Clinton and President Putin covered a great deal of ground over the last
couple of days.

     You heard a number of the issues referred to during the course of the
press conference -- global issues, regional issues, bilateral issues,
economic, strategic, diplomatic.  They did, however, particularly during
the working private dinner that they had in the Kremlin last night, spend a
good deal of time talking about the future of the strategic relationship
and how we can move forward to address new threats to the security of the
international community and to the security of the United States and Russia
in particular, and also how we can continue to make dramatic progress over
time in reducing the nuclear legacy of the Cold War.

     Now, during the course of the event that you just saw, the two
Presidents signed a joint statement on principles of strategic stability.
And what I would like to do in the short time that we have here is add a
bit to what President Clinton had to say on that subject.

     I think in a very real sense, the principles document, as we've come
to call it, is a classic example of something that we have tried to do and
very often succeeded in doing overt seven-plus years of this administration
in dealing with the Russian Federation, and that is to maximize our areas
of agreement, but also to manage those differences that remain between us.
And there is both agreement and disagreement manifest in this document.

     We are not claiming, nor are the Russians claiming that this joint
statement puts to rest the cluster of issues surrounding the national
missile defense system, the ABM Treaty, or the future of the START
agreement.  And all of those, I think properly, have been the focus of a
lot of attention.  That said, we do see this joint statement as a useful
interim step that provides, we think, an important framework for pushing
ahead on the issues that are subsumed by the principles document -- namely,
strategic offense, strategic defense, and strategic arms control.

     We think the principles document constitutes a set of guidelines for
the future of our strategic relationship in general with the Russian
Federation, and for further work on the ABM Treaty and START III, in

     Now, what I would like to do is parse the document a little bit with
you.  I trust you all have copies of it now.  It's not absolutely essential
-- well, okay, by all means go get copies.  I'm going to refer to several
of the paragraphs when I underscore or highlight what I think are the four
key points that are contained in the joint statement.

     The first point is that it affirms that both countries are committed
to maintaining and strengthening strategic stability.  That's paragraph
two.  Now, what this means in very simple terms is that neither side will
seek unilateral advantage against the other, or seek to take actions that
would deprive the other of a credible retaliatory deterrent.

     Both President Clinton and President Putin believe that in managing
strategic relations between the world's two largest nuclear powers,
stability and mutual deterrence still matter.  Now, mutual deterrence as
codified in the ABM Treaty of 1972 has been a cornerstone of stability for
the past 28 years.  And we expect that it will remain so in the future as
both sides continue to reduce strategic offensive arms.

     That leads me to the second point that I want to underscore, and this
is contained particularly in paragraph six.  The joint statement
acknowledges that the world has changed since 1972, when the ABM Treaty was
signed.  Now, in many ways, the world has changed for the better -- most
notably with the end of the Cold War and the reduction of U.S. and first
Soviet, then Russian, deployed strategic offensive forces by roughly 40

     But while the threat of global thermonuclear war has dramatically
receded, other threats have arisen.  And one of the most serious of those
new threats is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
ballistic missile technology.  That is the means to deliver nuclear and
other mass destruction weapons.

     And as you'll see in paragraph six, the joint statement acknowledges
that that threat, that new threat, which has come sharply into focus and
into being since 1972 and in recent years, represents a potentially
significant change in the strategic situation and in the international
security environment.

     The joint statement also acknowledges that the ABM Treaty itself, by
its own terms, as President Clinton put it during the press conference, in
the minds and in the language used by the framers of the ABM Treaty,
permits the parties to consider possible changes in the strategic situation
and, in the light of those changes, to consider proposals for further
increasing the viability of the treaty -- that is, steps that would make
the treaty more relevant to the current and prospective security
environment.  And there, I would call your attention to paragraph number 8.

     And it's in that spirit that the Presidents directed their governments
to develop concrete measures that would allow both sides to take necessary
steps to preserve strategic stability in the face of new threats.  That's
paragraph 14.  They've asked Secretary Albright and Foreign Minister Ivanov
to report to the Presidents on efforts to develop these measures.

     Third point:  Consistent with the joint statement and consistent, I
think, very much with the exchange that you heard between the two
Presidents this afternoon, they've also instructed their experts to develop
a series of cooperative measures whereby the United States and Russia can
jointly address the problem of ballistic missile proliferation.

     I'll give you a few examples of the kind of cooperative measures we
have in mind.  One is implementation of the shared early warning agreement,
which was designed today also by the Presidents and on which you've been
briefed earlier.  Second is more extensive bilateral and multilateral
cooperation on theater missile defense.

     Now, both sides have ideas and have put forward ideas in this area,
and were already cooperating in some ways such as joint TMD exercises.
Third area of cooperation -- joint work in an open, multinational
arrangement that would ultimately be open to all to combat missile
proliferation.  And here, what we are thinking about and talking to the
Russians about would be to synthesize -- that is to take the best of ideas
that are out there from both sides with regard to strengthening the missile
technology control regime, and also in developing the Russian idea of a
global control system.  The purpose of this effort would be to construct a
multifaceted, multilateral approach to preventing the proliferation of
ballistic missile technology.

     And the fourth and last example I would give are initiatives to
further develop U.S. and Russian cooperation in the field of nuclear
weapons safety and security.

     Now, let me if I could pause for one moment on this question of
cooperation.  The two sides have ongoing programs in some of these areas,
and we've been discussing new ideas for cooperation over time in the
future.  Our experts will meet in the coming weeks to develop a
comprehensive plan, drawing on the ideas of both sides, for the Presidents
to review when they next meet on the margins of the G-8 summit in Okinawa.

     Now, I think it's already clear that what we're talking about here is
a multidimensional threat that requires a multidimensional response, and
that requires cooperation in many different areas.  And there is one area
of cooperation where we clearly have more work to do, where our work is not
done as a result of this summit.  And that is diplomatic cooperation on the
ABM Treaty itself.

     Our view -- the United States' view -- is that the United States and
Russia are going to need to work cooperatively to adapt the ABM Treaty to
meet the emerging ballistic missile threat.  How exactly we're going to do
that is still at issue.

     That brings me to the fourth and final point that I want to underscore
in the joint statement, and it's in paragraph 15, which is that the joint
statement reaffirms that there is a very close logical connection or
linkage between strategic offense and strategic defense -- and, therefore,
between strategic offensive arms control, START, and strategic defensive
arms control of the kind that we've carried out under the aegis of the ABM

     The joint statement commits the two sides to intensive talks on
further reductions in strategic forces in parallel with further discussions
on ABM-related issues.  Now, this is not a new point of agreement between
us.  The same linkage was very much a part of the discussions in the
agreement between President Clinton and President Yeltsin during the
Cologne summit last year.

     Experts are going to meet over the summer with the objective of
working out what we're calling the basic elements of a START III treaty.
But they're also going to continue high-level exchanges on the ABM Treaty
and how we believe it should be changed to accommodate the new environment.

     Now, that's what's been agreed, and I think it's a lot.  It represents
important progress toward developing a joint approach for dealing with new
challenges to our security.  But I want to reiterate and be very clear
about those issues that are still open.

     The Russian side is more than capable of speaking for itself here.
But I think that the clarity and realism with which each of us understands
the other's position is an important part of what's been accomplished here
-- first and foremost, between the two Presidents during their very
intensive discussion of this issue over dinner last night.

     President Putin made absolutely clear to President Clinton that Russia
continues to oppose the changes to the ABM Treaty that the United States
has proposed since last September
-- that is, the changes necessary to permit deployment of phase one of our
limited national missile defense plan.  Russia believes that NMD will
undermine strategic stability, threaten Russia's strategic deterrent, and
provoke a new arms race.

     So I want to be quite explicit on this point.  The joint statement
does not reflect or imply Russian agreement to change the ABM Treaty along
the lines of our proposal, or, for that matter, along the lines of any
other proposal.  But as I said earlier, while it's true that Russia has not
accepted our proposals, they have, through the adoption of these
principles, agreed to a framework that includes discussion of possible
changes to the ABM Treaty to meet new threats to our security.

     Now, I talked about how clear President Putin was.  President Clinton
was just as clear in stating his belief that the ABM Treaty can and should
be adapted to allow for a limited national missile defense without damaging
strategic stability or undercutting mutual deterrence between the United
States and Russia.

     As I think he made quite clear in the press conference, with regard to
NMD, President Clinton told President Putin that he will make a decision
later this year on whether to move forward with that program, and he will
make that decision on the basis of the four criteria that he laid out last
year, which were technology, threat, cost, and impact on overall national
security, including impact on arms control.

     Nothing in the joint statement, indeed nothing that has transpired at
this summit, prejudices President Clinton's decision or limits his options,
or, for that matter, the next President's options with respect to national
missile defense.

     I'd be happy to go to your questions.

     Q    Strobe, if I can try and break apart the two parts of the
argument the Russians aren't buying -- the Russians agree that there is a
threat emerging there, but I assume it's safe to believe there was not
agreement on the nature of that threat.

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  That is correct.  You're in a very good
place to get authoritative elaboration of the Russian position.  But that
is certainly part of what we've been hearing from them.  They feel that the
threat is exaggerated, but at the very core of their objection today to the
proposed NMD is concern about what they see as a threat to the Russian
strategic deterrent.

     I have colleagues here in this room -- Under Secretary of Defense
Slocombe,  Assistant Secretary of Defense Warner, and others -- who have
been engaged over a period of many, many months in extraordinarily
detailed, non-polemic, highly technical discussions with the Russians here
in Moscow, in the "tank" in the Pentagon, and elsewhere on this issue.
Clearly, we haven't eliminated the difference between us, but we have had
-- we certainly understand the technical arguments, and I think that we
have made some progress at the level of facts, physics, and geography.

     Q    If I could just follow, the second side of it is, what part of
the President's assurances that this does not constitute -- that this does
not undermine the Russian deterrent -- what part of that did the Russians
not accept?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Well, I don't want to -- I've gone a long
way toward parsing both what has been agreed and being frank with you about
where we still have additional work to do.  Having participated in these
discussions over the last nine months, I think that the objective case that
the United States has made is very compelling, but for it to become the
basis of an agreement with the Russians, they need to see that, too.

     I think it's worth keeping in mind that while President Putin clearly
has followed this issue very closely, and he's had his head of the Security
Council, his Foreign Minister, and a number of his top advisors engaged
directly with us, this was really the first serious and sustained
opportunity for him as President to hear directly from President Clinton.

     Q    Did the Russians reiterate today or last night what they have
said up until just a few weeks ago, particularly Mr. Ivanov in Washington
-- there's a way to deal with this threat, however we may disagree on the
dimensions of it?  With theater missile defenses, with the 1997 agreement,
which had you and other people in the administration quite ecstatic as
having accomplished quite a bit in getting the Russians to buy into the
U.S. interpretation of four different types of tests which could be
conducted within the limits of the ABM Treaty, do they still say that's the
way to go?  Or do they now say, we don't know how to go about this?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Barry, you've never seen me ecstatic.

     Q    You were pretty ecstatic.  The senior official was.

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Theater missile defense, theater-based
antimissile systems, are very much on the table as something that we ought
to be discussing with the Russians, and we have been discussing with the
Russians, and indeed, it's something that we've been discussing with our
allies.  Because, again, this is not a simple problem.  There is not just
one imaginable manifestation of this new threat.

     And we are prepared to pursue with the Russians cooperation in the
area of TMD, as long as they understand, which I'm sure they do, that it
would be a supplement, and maybe you could even say a complement to what --
to other things that we very well may have to do.  But it's not a
substitute for NMD, in other words.

     Q    So they now see it as simply a supplement and not a remedy?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  They understand that we see it as a
supplement --

     Q    How do they see it?  What do they say about how they see it?  Did
they reiterate their position of just a few weeks ago, or has there been,
quote, "new flexibility" on it?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  I wouldn't want to characterize the Russian
position in that fashion, not least of all because by far, the most
substantive discussions on this subject took place between the two
Presidents and it's going to continue between the two Presidents, but it's
also going to take place between ministers.  Secretary Cohen, for example,
will be coming to Moscow before too long.  Secretary Albright and Secretary
Ivanov are going to keep working on this.  John Holum is going to be
meeting with his Russian counterpart, Ambassador Kapralov.

     Obviously, we wouldn't have put as much effort into trying to
summarize and crystallize our points of agreement if we didn't feel that
those points of agreement provided the basis for moving forward in the
future.  In other words, what you see here today, I think, is neither what
many were predicting or were concerned about, which is a dead end, nor is
it a destination.  But it's a clarification of the path forward.  And I
think you heard from the two Presidents, from their level, a sort of
management impulse to both governments to keep working on this issue, not
be driven by artificial deadlines.  And we've got both time and a clearer
sense of the framework within which we should work.

     Q    Could you square what you said about the Russians thinking that
they feel the threat is exaggerated with point six of the joint statement,
where it says that they agree the international community faces a dangerous
and growing threat?  What is the Russian perception of the new and emerging
threat?  And is it country-specific?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Elaine, I really think that the only honest
and appropriate answer is to refer you to them for their best effort to
answer that question.  We happen to think that the threat posed most
particularly by the North Korean ballistic missile program, the so-called
Tae-po dong program, is an objective reality.  The world that we're
describing here, the world that is covered by the ABM Treaty, changed very
vividly on August 31, 1998, when the North Koreans fired that missile, and
the question is, can the ABM Treaty, can the U.S.-Russian strategic
relationship, including in its cooperative dimension, change to take
account of those new realities.  And as for the Russian answer to that and
the Russian view on that, I'd refer you to them.

     Q    Did the two Presidents speak about specific threats -- North
Korea, Iraq, Iran?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Yes.  And they could do so fairly
economically, because their ministers and experts had spent a great deal of
time on this and there was a good deal of background -- they were sort of
off to a running start on this subject last night, because they both have
worked on it.

     And the essence of what President Clinton said was the following:  He
believes very much in the ABM Treaty.  I think that was clear again in what
he said again today.  And it certainly is not his preferred option to do
anything that would harm the ABM Treaty or that would require the United
States to withdraw from it.  At the same time, he made very clear that his
options on what he may decide as President he has to do to protect the
United States remain wide open.

     The ABM Treaty, in its essence, protects the principle of mutual
deterrence between the United States and Russia.  It protects the principle
that Russia has a right to a credible, retaliatory capability.  But the ABM
Treaty does not protect the right of North Korea or any other third country
to threaten the United States with ballistic missiles.

     Q    The President suggested in the press conference that we might be
prepared to go below START III framework numbers on offensive warheads if
we had some assurance that this new threat would be taken care of -- is
that an approach that we think the Russians may find interesting and may
buy into?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  The President has said consistently that
the United States is prepared to discuss a future strategic arms control
beyond START III.  But we're not at START III yet.  We're not at START II
yet.  We haven't implemented START II.  Despite that, we have begun
discussions with the Russians on target numbers, which is to say a range of
strategic offensive levels for START III.

     Three years ago, in this meeting that Barry was referring to, that
represented the culmination of intense deliberation within the United
States government and intense negotiation between the United States and
Russia that had a result.  And the result was that the target for START III
should be 2,000, 2,500.  So let's take this thing a step at a time.

     Q    Has the disagreement over the ABM Treaty now essentially frozen
progress on START III?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  No.  In fact, I think that what you see in
this document should provide an impulse to forward movement -- whatever the
opposite of freezing is.  I don't think it was frozen, by the way, up until
now, because it basically establishes clear agreement between us that these
two processes are going to have to move forward together -- the control of
strategic defenses and the reduction of strategic offenses.  And it's in
that spirit that we're going to be getting together with them very soon.

     Q    There was no movement on START III at these meetings today?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Well, there is not going to be definitive
and decisive movement on START III until the overall strategic context of
our strategic offensive arsenals and the Russians is clear.  That context
now includes new threats of the kind that we've talked about here.  And the
Russians acknowledge that as a principle, and the question is now
translating that principle into practical steps.

     Q    Can you -- given the derisive reception of the Clinton-Gore
administration to Governor Bush's discussion of NMD, ABM, and the whole
sort of area of Russian relations, how did you take the unsolicited sort of
words of President Putin that he can do business with either of the

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Well, first of all, I'm not going to accept
the premise of your question.  I'm not going to characterize either the
Republican position on this issue or the Clinton administration's
characterization of the Republican position on this issue.  I can tell you
that what President Putin had to say on the subject struck me as basic good
sense, which is that the Russian Federation and its President will deal
with whomever the American people decide is to be their President.

     Q    Strobe, did the Russians say this weekend that they feel that if
the President does go ahead with approval of phase one, that he will be in
violation of the ABM Treaty?  And what did they say when you point out that
what you're talking about would knock down only a fraction of the Soviet
strategic arsenal, that it would be no threat to their arsenal?  Do they
say, nyet, that this is the start of a slippery slope?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Their concern about NMD is in part captured
by the last thing that you said.  That is, they're concerned that phase one
will not only lead to phase two, but will lead on and on and on.

     Our  position has been that the NMD program in its two phases is very
carefully designed to do two things -- one, to deal with a certain kind of
threat, namely, relatively small numbers of third country ICBMs; but, two,
to leave intact mutual deterrence and the Russian retaliatory capability.
It's also our view that we've come a long way, we've come 28 years with a
lot of changes in the world -- notably, including in this country, and in
the essence of the nature between this country and our country -- and we've
done so with an ABM Treaty that's now 28 years old.  It was modified two
years after it was signed, and it's now time to take a good, hard look
about ways to save it, to make sure that it lasts for another 28 years.
That's what this is about.

     I think that without in any way prejudging where the Russian
Federation will come out on this issue, they understand our position even
more clearly now than they did before -- not least because their President
has heard it directly from out President.

     Q    A couple of days before this weekend's talks, President Putin
gave an interview with NBC, and after that interview there was a lot of
reporting that Putin plans to propose some sort of joint missile defense
involving both countries sharing technology.  Did Putin raise anything of
the kind?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Well, there has been discussion between us
and the Russians -- Walt Slocombe and Ted Warner have had a lot more
detailed conversation along these lines than I have because there's been a
lot of good military-to-military contact, as well -- about the possibility
of cooperating on various kinds of missile defense.      We haven't ruled
any of that out.  We see some of it as being potentially responsive and
relevant to some of the problems that we might face in the future, problems
that we would like to face jointly with Russia.

     But there is, kind of right in the middle of the road, one very big
problem.  And it's the prospect within the next five years or so of a North
Korean ICBM.  And theater missile defense, for a variety of technical
reasons, cannot deal with an ICBM -- or at least we're not sure, we don't
have any reason for confidence that we could develop a system of, say --
just for example, since it's been in the news -- theater-based boost-phase
intercept, in anything like the time frame in which this threat is

     MR. HAMMER:  Last question.

     Q    How much time was spent discussing Chechnya?  And was there any
kind of meeting of the minds, any kind of progress there?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  I would say quite a bit of time was spent
on Chechnya.  And there's something, to be honest, a little bit lopsided
about this conversation.  I realize I'm responsible for that, because we've
properly spent a lot of time discussing one great big issue.  But there
were a lot of great big issues covered at this summit, including between
the two Presidents last night, and Chechnya was one of them.  And we came
back to it today in the larger format as well.

     And I would say, as for the substance, it was pretty well captured in
the press conference this afternoon.  Certainly the essence of President
Clinton's view and attitude on the subject.

     Q    Strobe, just one quick one.  Did they discuss at all Russian
organized crime in this country and in the United States?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Bill, the issue of -- to give it its
negative name, corruption, and its positive name, the need for a rule of
law as an underpinning of Russian reform -- was a theme.  It's a theme on
which President Clinton was very candid.  And President Putin was very
candid and forceful.  And it came up particularly during the economic
plenary with some of the economic advisors and ministers joining this

     Q    What did they decide?

     DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT:  Serious problem, got to work on it
together, like a number of others I could mention.

     Thank you very much.

     END  7:43 P.M. (L)