June 4, 2000


6:55 P.M. (L)

                              THE WHITE HOUSE

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

                          AND PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN

                               St. George's Hall
                                  The Kremlin
                                           Moscow, Russia

6:55 P.M. (L)

     PRESIDENT PUTIN:   Good day, ladies and gentlemen.  I will allow
myself to begin summing up our two days of work, with our guests and
partners, with the President of the United States, Mr. Bill Clinton, and
members of his team.  For two days now, we worked very intensively.  And I
have to say right off the bat that both in terms of the spirit and the
quality of our talks, as well as the results, the Russian side cannot but
express its satisfaction.

     We discussed issues of interest in our opinion not only the to United
States and the Russian Federation, but to the other countries, as well, on
global matters -- all of mankind's interest, really lies here.  We
discussed in great detail everything that had been done in this very
important -- issues of interest to both of our sides, and that which have
been in the last several years.  We agree that we're going to be acting in
this direction jointly in the future.

     We discussed the issues of new global threats, threats such as
terrorism, narcotics, crime.  We talked about issues which, to our mind,
have a certain solution; in the estimation of our American colleagues,
maybe have a different kind of a solution.  We exchanged ideas and opinions
on issues to which we had different solutions in the past.  These talks
were very candid, very open and very topical.

     As you know, with my colleague, with the President of the United
States, I signed several documents, including statements on security.  And
many things are determined and defined there, and much is said in these
documents.  The result, I think, can be summed up by saying that we not
only confirmed the high level of our relations, but we also expressed the
trend of the development of our relations between our two countries for the
near future.

     I wanted to stress here, ladies and gentlemen, the following, that
over the last period of time, say, a year or even more, the relations
between our two countries have been of a varied kind -- at one time, we had
relations increasing and improving; then they would be falling.  But that
high level, which was reached over the last eight years by the efforts of
the Russian leadership and of the administration of President Clinton,
allowed us to always find a way out of these crises with honor -- not only
to reestablish good relations, but also to solve problems where we had
disagreements.  And we really cherish this.  I am pleased to note here that
in these very tough questions, we observed not only a desire to speak, but
also to find joint and mutually beneficial solutions.

     We discussed also topics that had to do with bilateral economic
interests.  Here I wanted to say that the Russian Federation, in the face
of your humble servant and the chairman of the government, the Prime
Minister, Mr. Kasyanov, the leading ministers of the government who
participated and took part in these talks and negotiations not only
informed and described to our American guests what's happening economically
in Russia today, but also discussed with our partners joint actions, joint
activities, both of a bilateral nature as well as within the framework of
international financial institutions.

     I want to stress here as well that the Russian Federation aims not
only to go through its transformation, about which many people have so much
spoken, but very decisively to do so in a practical way -- I mean moving
ahead on the tax code, and moving ahead on production sharing.  Here we
have some issues which we have not yet been able to resolve between us and
the state Duma, but I think these are rather technical issues.  I think,
together with the deputies in the state Duma, we're going to be trying to
find solutions and finally get this legislation.

     We spoke about the upcoming international events -- the Okinawa
summit, the Millennium summit in the United Nations in New York, the Brunai
meeting.  In this way, Mr. Clinton and myself, we have reached an accord on
further joint progress along a whole series of issues, which not only did
we discuss today and yesterday, and which we will still have an opportunity
to discuss some more tomorrow, to move ahead on these issues at the events
that I have listed.

     On behalf of the leadership of the Russian Federation, I want to thank
the American delegation not only for accepting our invitation and coming to
Russia, but for a very constructive and businesslike discussion in an
attempt to find solutions.

     Thank you so much for your attention.

     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  I would like to first thank President Putin and
the Russian delegation for making us feel welcome and for these talks.  I
have come to Moscow at an important time -- Russia, after all, has a new
President, new government, new Duma.  Its economy is showing encouraging
signs of growth.  This gives Russia a pivotal opportunity to build on the
strong record of engagement between our two countries.  It is also an
opportunity for the United States.

     I welcome President Putin's interest in building a Russia that enjoys
the enduring strength of a stable democracy.
President Yeltsin led Russia to freedom.  Under President Putin, Russia has
the chance to build prosperity and strength, while safeguarding that
freedom and the rule of law.

     We've had good discussions, both last night and today, on a range of
common interests, including nonproliferation and arms control.  We
expressed our differences with clarity and candor.  And I, for one,
appreciate that.  The importance of this relationship to ourselves and the
world demands that we take every opportunity we can to find common ground,
and that where we cannot find it, we express our differences with clarity
and candor.

     I congratulated President Putin on the key role he played in the
Duma's ratification of START II and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  The
United States ratified START II first, and I hope we will now follow Russia
in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  I also look forward to the
ratification of the START II protocols by our Senate so that we can get
about the business of further reducing the number of nuclear missiles that
we have.

     I am very pleased today we agreed on two other major steps to reduce
the nuclear danger.  We reached an important agreement, each to destroy 34
tons of military grade plutonium, enough to make thousands of warheads.
This raw weapon material that will now never fall into the wrong hands.

     We also agreed to establish a joint data exchange center in Moscow to
share early warning information on missile and space launches.  This is
terribly important.  It is the first permanent U.S.-Russia military
operation ever.

     In this new center, Russian and American military officials will be
working side by side, 24 hours a day, to monitor missile warning
information.  It is a milestone in enhancing strategic stability, and I
welcome it.

     The President and I also discussed our common commitment to prevent
the proliferation of missile technology, and our determination to exert
firm control over exports of sensitive technology, and strictly enforce
export control laws and regulations.

     We discussed our common interest in commercial space cooperation,
including the successful joint venture that launches commercial satellites.
We agreed that our teams would soon meet to discuss future cooperation in
the commercial space area, with the aim of moving toward eliminating
existing constraints on commercial space launches.

     We also had a thorough discussion of our work on the START III treaty,
and the issue of national missile defense.  We have agreed to a statement
of principles, which I urge you to read carefully.  It makes clear that
there is an emerging ballistic missile threat that must be addressed,
though we have not yet agreed on how best to do so.

     We have acknowledged that the ABM Treaty foresees the possibility of
changes in the strategic environment that might require it to be updated.
We have reaffirmed our commitment to pursue further reduction in offensive
arms in parallel with our discussions on defense systems, underscoring the
importance of the doctrines of strategic stability and mutual deterrence as
the foundation for this work.

     We've asked our experts to keep working to narrow the differences, and
to develop a series of cooperative measures to address the missile threat.
And we have agreed that we will continue to discuss it in our next meeting.

     We spent a large share of our time discussing economics.  I'm
encouraged by the economic plan President Putin has outlined and by the
current recovery.  I look forward to Russia's continuing to implement
proposed reforms that will actually make the recovery last -- reforms such
as tax reform, anti-money laundering legislation, strong property rights

     I look forward to Russia's successful negotiations with the IMF.  This
is a good economic team with a very good opportunity to increase investment
in Russia, both the return of money that Russians have placed outside the
country and new investments from other countries.

     Later this month, our former Ambassador to Moscow, Bob Strauss, will
come to Russia with a delegation of investors, including some of America's
best-known chief executive officers, to discuss opportunities in Russia and
the steps Russia is taking to improve its investment climate.  I think this
will be only the beginning of a very successful effort at economic reform,
if the intentions that President Putin outlined become reality.

     The President and I also discussed another area where we disagree --
Chechnya.  I have restated the opposition that I have to a policy which is
well-known.  Essentially, I believe, a policy that causes so many civilian
casualties without a political solution ultimately cannot succeed.  I also
urged President Putin to move forward with transparent and impartial
investigations of the stories of human rights violations, and to authorize
a speedy return of the OSCE to the region.

     Finally, I stressed to President Putin the importance the United
States places on protecting religious freedom and the rights of an
independent media.  I strongly agree with what President Putin himself has
said, that Russia has no future if it suppresses civic freedoms and the

     We agreed to advance our technical cooperation on climate change.  We
believe it's essential to conclude work on the Kyoto Protocol, including
market mechanisms, to protect the environment, promote clean energy and
reduce costs.  I think that has a great economic opportunity here as well
as a great environmental one.

     And on these issues, the President and I are asking the U.S.-Russia
binational commission, under the leadership of Vice President Gore and
Prime Minister Kasyanov, to carry forward the work.

     I was encouraged by our discussion, pleased with our agreements,
pleased with the candor and clarity of our disagreements.  I am eager for
more progress.  I'm also looking forward to the chance to talk to the
Russian people tonight in a radio talk show, and tomorrow, as I have the
opportunity to speak to the Duma and the Federation Council.

     Again, Mr. President, I thank you for this and especially for these
two agreements, and I look forward to our continued work together.

     Q    The question to the President of Russia.  What is the priority
you give to Russian-American relations in the world, and a world that, as
we see, is changing and forming in a different way?  Thank you.

     PRESIDENT PUTIN:  The history of relations of the former Soviet Union
and the United States of America, and now Russian Federation and the United
States, its history, as I've said, has many dramatic, as well as many
positive elements.  We were allies.  There was a period of time when we
suffered through confrontation between our two sides.  One would hope that
the very worst in our relations is far, far behind us.

     For today, the United States is one of our main partners.  And as far
as Russia is concerned, it will never make the choice regarding the United
States in order to start once again confrontation.  Never.  We are for
cooperation.  We are for coming to agreement on problems that might arise.

     And naturally, problems like this exist, and have existed, and
probably will exist.  That is not important.  What's important is that the
approach to finding a solution is only one -- it's unique -- it cannot be
aimed at destroying everything positive that has been achieved in the
recent past, but also looking into the future.  And this kind of chance,
and this intention among the leadership of Russia, as well as, I understand
it, among the leadership of the President of the United States -- we are
going to follow these principles, these kinds of tendencies.

     Q    Mr. President, do you see the chance that the United States would
exercise its option to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty if
it is not possible to negotiate changes to permit a national missile
defense?  And was this possibility raised in your discussions with
President Putin?

     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, first of all, I have not made a decision on
the national missile defense stage one.  It is premature.  The statement of
principles that we have agreed to I thought reflected an attempt to bring
our positions closer together.  I do not believe the decision before me is
a threat to strategic stability and mutual deterrence.  The Russian side
disagrees.  But we had a lot of agreement here.

     And again, let me say I urge you all to read that.  I do not want the
United States to withdraw from the ABM regime because I think it has
contributed to a more stable, more peaceful world.  It has already been
amended once, and its framers understood that circumstances might change
and threats might arise which were outside the context of U.S.-now Russian
relations.  We acknowledge that there is a threat; it needs to be met; and
we're trying to bridge our differences.  And I think that's where we ought
to leave it.

     Q    President Clinton, Mr. President, what do you feel about Russia's
continuation of reducing within START III the number of warheads down to
1,500 warheads?  Thank you.

     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  I missed the translation.  Would you give it to me

     Q    What would be the attitude of the United States, Mr. President,
on the Russian position of coming down to 1,500 warheads within START III?

     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, I -- we had previously agreed to a range of
2,000 to 2,500 on START III.  If we were to come down below that, it would
require us to change our strategic plan.  And we believe it would be much
better, if we were going to do that, if we could also know that we were
defending ourselves against a new threat, which we believe is real.  So we
will continue to discuss all these things.

     Let me say, I am certain -- I am eager to get down to the START II
levels, and I am eager to go below the START II levels, but I also want to
try to solve the new threat, as well.  And I will do whatever I can to
achieve both objectives.

     Q    This is for both Presidents.  Now that you have met together as
Presidents, how would you describe each other's personalities and
leadership qualities?  And how do you see them affecting relations between
the two countries?  And in particular, President Clinton, are you any more
or less assured about the future of democracy in Russia following your
meetings today?

     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  You want to go first?

     PRESIDENT PUTIN:  As you know, this is not our first meeting, between
myself and President Clinton.  President Clinton, now for almost eight
years, heads one of the most powerful countries in the world.  He's a very
experienced politician.  In my mind, we've established now not only good
business ties, but also personal relations.  For me, President Clinton is a
person who is a very comfortable and pleasant partner in negotiations.

     I think that if all, if everyone behaves the way President Clinton has
behaved, not trying to find dead ends and problems, but to seek ways of
moving ahead, I think, between us in the future our relations really will
be successful.  Take a look at the ABM Treaty.  There are a lot of problems
there.  We've written down in our statement, about which Mr. Clinton just
spoke, a basis, a principle of basis for maintaining the ABM Treaty as a
major key point in the whole strategic balance, and for maintaining

     Now, the starting point for the possibility of seeing new threats
arrive, we have a commonality.  We're against having a cure which is worse
than the disease.  We understand that there are ways and a basis that we
can build upon in order to solve even this issue, an issue which seems to
be one of the most difficult to solve.

     So I repeat -- we know that today, in the United States, there is a
campaign ongoing.  We're familiar with the programs of the two main
candidates.  And if these programs are implemented, and there it says, for
instance, the necessity to positively improve relations between Russia and
the United States, the time that Mr. Clinton is going to pass on to the
next President, no matter who gets to be President, we're willing to go
forward on either one of these approaches.  Thank you.

     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Well, let me say first, I think President Putin
has an enormous opportunity and a great challenge.  If you want to know
what my personal assessment is, I think he is fully capable of building a
prosperous, strong Russia, while preserving freedom and pluralism and the
rule of law.  It's a big challenge; I think he is fully capable of doing

     And I want to use the time I have remaining as President not only to
further the interests of the United States in meeting our national security
threat, but also to further our interest in having a good, stable
relationship with a Russia that is strong and prosperous and free,
respecting pluralism and the rule of law.  That's what I'm trying to do.  I
think he is fully capable of achieving that.  And I'm encouraged by the
first two days of our really serious work.

     THE PRESS:  Thank you.

     END  7:20 P.M. (L)