USIS Washington 

26 January 1999


(SecState, in Moscow, reiterates US support for ABM Treaty) (4850)

Moscow -- Secretary of State Albright reiterated US support for the
Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty during a joint press conference
January 26 with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

"We are committed to the ABM treaty as central to our whole arms
control structure," Albright said in response to reporters' questions.
But she noted that since 1972, when the Treaty was first adopted, that
there are "new threats in the world that frankly both countries need
to consider."

The Secretary emphasized that the United States has not yet made a
decision to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system and would not make
a decision until the middle of next year "at the earliest." Any
deployment would not take place until the year 2005 because of the
technology requirements demanded, she added.

"We are going to carry on transparent discussions with the Russians
about where we are and the ABM Treaty and we'll be making very clear
how this is progressing," she promised. "We are only at the beginning
of a long process, one which we want to work with Russia to preserve
the security of both our countries," Albright said.

Noting that the United States "wants to see Russia succeed and to work
with Russia's government and people to build a strong partnership,"
Albright listed steps taken in that direction during her Moscow visit.
Among them:

-- a technology safeguards agreement that establishes firm measures to
protect sensitive American technology on satellites launched by Russia
from the Kazakhstan Space Center.

-- a joint statement condemning the massacre of Kosovar Albanians in
the Kosovo town of Racak. The statement also calls for the killings to
be fully investigated and that those responsible be brought to
justice. It demands that the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia"
authorities must immediately comply with UN Security Council
resolutions to withdraw Serb forces from Kosovo.

Albright said that she and Foreign Minister Ivanov discussed
extensively missile and nuclear cooperation between Russian entities
and Iran and their joint conviction that Iraq must fully comply with
UN resolutions and end its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

Following is the State Department transcript:

(begin transcript)

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
Joint Press Conference
Moscow, Russia

January 26, 1999

As released by the Office of the Spokesman
US Department of State

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: Ladies and gentlemen, the visit to
Russia by the Secretary of State of the United States Madam Albright
is coming to its end. The leadership of our two countries attached
much importance to this visit, considering both the importance of
Russian-American relations in the international context and the
appearance in our relations lately of certain complex moments.

The program of the Secretary of State's visit was a very packed one. I
will only say that this morning Madam Albright had a telephone
conversation with the President of the Russian Federation, Boris
Nikolayevich Yeltsin. They discussed key issues of Russian-American
relations as well as the most pressing international problems. It is
fundamentally important that the adherence of Russia and the United
States to the development of bilateral relations on the basis of
equality, respect and due account of each other's interests was

The main result, therefore, of the visit to Russia by the Secretary of
State is the confirmation of the understanding reached by the
presidents of our two countries at their last meeting in Moscow of the
closeness of the strategic interests of Russia and the United States.

In this context, Madam Albright, on instruction of the President of
the United States, particularly noted that the leadership of the
United States adheres to the development of relations of strategic
partnership with Russia and intends to prevent occasional setbacks to
exert a determining influence on our relations.

Moscow fully subscribes to this point of view. We believe that the
non-coincidence of views on some matters should not serve as an
obstacle to the development of our partnership relations. Differences
should be resolved by way of consultations on a mutually acceptable
basis with due account for the interests of the sides.

It is also important not to make surprises for each other. We believe
that the talks were constructive and fruitful. We managed to reached
concrete understanding on a number of urgent and important matters and
resolve some serious concerns.

Disarmament issues were one of the main topics at the talks. We
discussed the implementation of the START I treaty, including our
concerns, prospects for the ratification of the START II treaty, and
future talks on real cuts.

We had a serious discussion of the ABM Treaty. In response to our
official inquiries we have received lately a number of explanations
concerning the US approach toward the national anti-ballistic missile
defense, including in messages to the President of the Russian
Federation and the chairman of the government of Russia. This position
is now being studied very thoroughly.

We believe that further cuts in strategic offensive weapons can be
done only if there is a clear vision for preserving and observing this
treaty as the cornerstone of strategic stability.

We discussed in great detail the adaptation of the Conventional Forces
in Europe treaty. This is a critical treaty for European and global
stability. We managed to specify our positions and bring them closer.
We agreed to try to solve key problems by the end of February in order
to have a concerted agreement of the joint consultative group before
NATO begins to enlarge. The final decision concerning CFE adaptation
will have to be made at the OSCE summit in Istanbul in November 1999.
We will continue talks on this matter both with the US and other
parties to the treaty.

Talks and consultations on disarmament and arms control will be
intensified. Both sides seek to hold them in the spirit of
transparency and openness. Also discussed at the talks were problems
of non-proliferation and export control. We do not have differences in
terms of aims. The reality of this threat to our national interests is
obvious. We in Russia are taking all measures to toughen our regime of
export control. We are studying all concrete cases of possible
violations. We are actively interacting with the United States in
these matters, taking into account both their and our concerns.

The launching of seven bilateral export-control groups, set up in
accordance with a decision made by the presidents last September, will
be very helpful in this respect. At the same time, of course, we
cannot accept a policy of pressure. That is a mistaken path.

We both agreed that Russian-American engagement is the key element in
the maintenance of international security and stability. We have
accomplishments in the field of resolving and deepening (inaudible)
regional crises, although our approaches do not fully coincide.

We are particularly worried by relapses of the use of force in
circumvention of the United Nations Security Council. This is fraught
with the danger of undermining the existing system of international
relations. It is most important for the existing differences to be
resolved on the basis of dialogue, account for the views and interests
of the sides. In this context we studied the situation in Kosovo and
in Iraq. In both cases a resolution by political means is possible.

As a result of the talks we agreed on a joint statement on Kosovo. Of
course, much attention was given to European affairs, including to
questions of interaction in the OSCE. Here we have common interests
with the United States. As is known, there are also certain
differences, first of all those connected with NATO expansion. Our
position of principle on this question remains unchanged.

We are attentively following the possible results of work on the new
strategic concept of the Alliance. We are prepared to continue an
intensive dialogue with NATO on the basis of the Founding Act.

On the whole, I would like to stress that the recent contacts between
the presidents of our two countries, between Mr. Primakov and Vice
President of the United States Gore, as well as the results of the
talks with Madam Albright show that jointly we manage to remove
irritants and remain committed to onward development and cooperation
for the benefit of both countries. We agreed that we will continue our
contacts within the coming months.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good day, I'd like to begin by thanking the
government and people of Russia for their hospitality and for
everything they've done to ensure the success of my meetings these
last two days.

I was very pleased to also have had the chance to speak with President
Yeltsin. We spoke for almost half an hour and as Foreign Minister
Ivanov said we had the possibility of touching a large number of the
issues that the Foreign Minister and I have talked about for the last
couple of days.

I passed along President Clinton's best wishes for a speedy recovery
and the President's commitment to our very important relationship.

Foreign Minister Ivanov and I have held extensive talks on a broad
range of issues, on which we have common interest and concerns.
Earlier today we signed a technology safeguards agreement. It puts in
place firm measures to protect sensitive American technology on
satellites launched by Russia from the Kazakhstan Space Center.

The agreement does not replace or circumvent our strict case-by-case
approval procedures for Russian launches of American satellites, but
it will allow us to resume space launch cooperation that is consistent
with our non-proliferation objectives. And that is a plus for all
three of our countries.

We have also adopted a joint statement about the very dangerous
situation in Kosovo in wake of the massacre of Kosovar Albanians in
Racak. We agreed that the killings must be fully investigated and
those responsible brought to justice.

We insist that the FRY authorities must, without delay, comply with
the resolutions of the UN Security Council, particularly with regard
to the presence of police and military units in Kosovo.

The FRY must also facilitate the work of the OSCE, the International
Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, and humanitarian

In short, we are united in our deep concern at the escalation of
violence on all sides in Kosovo and we will be working together
closely to promote progress toward a political settlement.

Foreign Minister Ivanov and I have also discussed extensively our
common concern about missile and nuclear cooperation between Russian
entities and Iran. Senior Russian officials have recently spoken out
on the need to tighten Russia's export control systems. On that basis
we will expand and intensify the work of the export control groups
established by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin and continue our
high-level dialogue. And we have confirmed our conviction that Iraq
must fully comply with UN resolutions and end its pursuit of weapons
of mass destruction.

We discussed a broad range of arms control issues. We will ask the
US-Russian strategic stability group chaired by our deputies to
continue our intensive work in the coming weeks. I am hopeful that the
next time I am here, START II will have been ratified and we will be
discussing START III.

We've had wide-ranging discussions on the treaty on conventional armed
forces in Europe. We and the other parties to the treaty will work to
resolve key issues as soon as possible with the goal of signing an
adapted treaty at the OSCE summit this fall, as the Foreign Minister
has said.

Finally, we had a first exchange of views on how we might respond to
new missile threats while keeping the ABM Treaty at the center of our
arms control policy. I stressed to the Foreign Minister that we are
only at the beginning of a long process, one which we want to work
with Russia to preserve the security of both our countries.

In addition to my meetings with the Prime Minister, the Foreign
Minister and other government and Duma officials I have had an
opportunity to meet with many Russian civil and human rights leaders
and with representatives of American business. In all of those
conversation, I stressed that America wants to support a Russia that
is taking the right steps to put its economy back on track. The United
States remains the largest foreign investor in Russia and 95 percent
of our businesses say that they are in Russia for the long run.

I recalled America's own experience of the work of building democracy
as slow and difficult. And I expressed the concern of the
international community that Russia stay on the path toward democracy
and openness and work to combat extremism and anti-semitism. The rule
of law must apply to every Russian citizen, including journalists,
religious activists and others
such as Alexander Nikitin.

American wants to see Russia succeed and to work with Russia's
government and people to build a strong partnership. And this week, I
believe, we have made progress toward that goal and set the stage for
a cordial and productive new year. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: On Kosovo. There seem to be echoes of Bosnia, consultations,
consultations, consultations, people getting killed. Is there a
consensus developing not only with Russia but with the Allies, will
the US consider sending ground troops in a NATO peacekeeping mission,
if you could get a ceasefire going again?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I hope very much that people will
understand that there is really quite a difference between Bosnia and
Kosovo just in its set up. Bosnia having been an independent republic
and Kosovo being a part of Yugoslavia. And the long-term goal that the
Contact Group plus the international community has which is to develop
some form of self-autonomy, the highest possible for the people of

Clearly again, we are very concerned about the killings in Kosovo and
the fact that there have been an overly large number of Yugoslav
forces and the special police in Kosovo in contradiction to the
agreement made by Ambassador Holbrooke with President Milosevic, and
we are also concerned by some of the provocative acts of the KLA and
the killings that have gone on generally.

I think that it is fair to say that there are meetings, but the US and
the Allies are currently examining a wide-range of options for
applying a combination of political and military pressure on Milosevic
and the Serbian and (inaudible) authorities in order to bring them
into compliance and in order to move both sides towards serious
negotiations on a political settlement for Kosovo. The North Atlantic
Council is meeting this afternoon to discuss these options and we
haven't really yet received any readout from these meetings. And so I
won't speculate any further on what options are under discussion, nor
on the views of our Allies.

Q: (Inaudible) potential option that Americans will send ground troops
in a peacekeeping mission (inaudible)?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think we have said that we would examine that
among other options.

Q: Russian Television, Vesti. A question to both ministers. On the eve
of the visit, many journalists and experts claimed that one of the
main tasks pursued by the US side in this visit is to put some
pressure on Moscow in order to get political concessions in exchange
for some financial or economic assistance from the US. Is this true?
How could you comment on these assertions?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I think I will begin, if you don't mind.
First of all, I've already said in my introductory remarks that no
changes have occurred in the position of our presidents or in the
position of our governments. Let me tell you once again that Russia
and the US have close strategic interests. The talks on all issues,
including the most complex ones, were held in the spirit of such
strategic interests.

The Russian leadership has repeatedly stated its commitment to market
relations. And we are building a market economy in our country. At the
same time a market economy does not mean that we should have a market
foreign policy. We do not trade in our national interests. Neither the
American or any other side has put the question this way.

The discussion of all problems was held in the spirit of frankness and
partnership. I think this is the only way of reaching the agreements
we are striving to reach in accordance with our strategic objectives.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me echo what Foreign Minister Ivanov said.
First of all, that both of us, on behalf of our countries, agreed that
the relationship between our two countries is very important to us
both, is the highest priority and that is also evident in the
discussions that our presidents have had and in the messages that went
back and forth between them via me.

So, I think that there is no doubt about how -- great importance we
put on the proper functioning of this relationship and cooperative
spirit that is necessary as we deal with the current threats and the
opportunities of the 21st century. There is no secret about the fact
that we are concerned about the economic situation here in Russia and
that we have said, we want to be in
a position to help support Russia.

The IMF wants to be in such a position, but it is necessary for there
to be an economic program and a budget that is realistic, that
provides a sense of confidence to various creditors and that allows
Russia to proceed down the road of a market economy. As Foreign
Minister Ivanov said, there are a number of issues that are on the
table when we talk, and some of them we agree totally and on some of
them we disagree partially. But I think that that is in the spirit for
two important countries who have their own national interests and it
is perfectly proper.

But what I found most interesting out of this visit is that our
ability to speak with each other in frankness and friendship about the
common problems that we face. And so I think pressure is definitely
the wrong word, and I think that the Foreign Minister's response to
that is certainly one that I would corroborate.

Q: My question is for Minister Ivanov. So, you said that you have
received an explanation of the American position on the missile
defense issue. Did you accept that explanation?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: As I have already said, the ABM treaty is
seen both by us and the United States as a key element in ensuring
strategic stability. So, any questions connected with the treaty
naturally may give rise to concern or anxiety. We have in fact
initiated a discussion on that score today. The American
representatives set forth their vision of the issue, spoke about their
plans. Our experts, including military representatives, have joined
this discussion and we have agreed that considering the importance of
the problem, the importance not only for our two parties but for
international stability, such consultations and such dialogue will
continue. And very soon, at the end of February, an American
delegation on strategic stability is due in Moscow and these
conversations, these discussions, the exchange of information will

Q: My question is for Ms. Albright. In your brief statement you said
that you discussed non-proliferation. The US Administration makes a
direct linkage between Russian-American space cooperation and the
termination of Russian cooperation with Iran. Was this discussed in
the negotiations, and if so, what were the results?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we spoke about what the United States
considers as the problem in terms of transfer of either technology or
knowledge to Iran. And as you know, we have sanctioned three entities
recently because we are concerned that kind of proliferation that has
come up at every one of the meetings that we have had whether at our
level or presidential level or the vice-presidents and the prime
minister. And this kind of a discussion I think will continue again at
Davos when the Prime Minister and Vice-President meet. We believe that
it's very important for the Russian government to enforce its export
controls and that there needs to be every attempt to control this kind
of proliferation because it ultimately is a threat to all of us. And
so we did discuss it and we are hoping very much that there will be
unilaterally taken action by the Russian government so that we can
have greater confidence in how the export legislation works.

Q: CNN. A question for Secretary Albright. Madame Secretary, the
overriding feeling here in Moscow seems to be that the United States
is either ignoring or dismissing Russia in international issues and
decisions. I am sure this was brought up to you in many different
settings. But how did you answer that question?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, the proof is in the pudding for me.
I am here because we are neither ignoring nor avoiding or dismissing
Russia and its views. I have spent a great deal of time even before I
got here in telephone conversations with the Foreign Minister and a
great deal of mail that goes on between us because we are very
concerned and interested in their views on a number of issues and
obviously take them into account.

I think it is impossible and would be completely inappropriate for the
United States to dismiss the views of a great country such as Russia.
We may not agree. That is something different. And it is -- at times
such as this we were able to have honest discussions about where our
disagreements lie and try to develop mechanisms for helping to resolve
them. And so as the Foreign Minister said we have follow-up groups
that are going to be discussing various aspects and additional
discussions generally will go on.

But I think that no one has ever expected that given our different
histories and backgrounds and geographical positions that we would
have identical views where our national interests are concerned. And
what we, as foreign ministers, do is to seek as often as possible to
find areas of agreement, and there are many, and to manage or resolve
those areas where we disagree.

But I think to those people who think that we are ignoring Russia's
views, I think that is completely incorrect.

Q: Golos Rossii. Judging both from the statements made by the
honorable participants in this press conference and from the answers
to the questions, both sides describe their talks as constructive and
fruitful. I'd like to know what both sides think about future
prospects for Russian-US relations. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I think the visit by Mrs. Albright has
allowed us to synchronize our watches, once again specify our
strategic objectives and map out ways of further joint work in the
main areas of bilateral cooperation in various fields.

US Vice President Gore and the Russian Prime Minister, Mr. Primakov,
are scheduled to meet at the end of this month in Davos. Late in
February, as I said, a visit to Russia will be paid by a delegation
headed by First Deputy Secretary of State Mr. Talbott to discuss a
wide range of questions connected with security, stability. In March
there will be a meeting of the Russian-American Commission in the
United States, the Commission that is called the Primakov-Gore
Commission. Then in Cologne there will be a summit meeting of the

In other words, we will have contacts on the level of foreign
ministers, we have a very intense calendar of bilateral relations,
bilateral contacts, exchanges. This, without doubt, will make it
possible to further discuss in a spirit of partnership the questions
that are on the agenda today.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me also add: I think both of us mentioned the
fact that we have issued a joint statement on Kosovo today, an issue
that is of great importance to both our countries, and I think it is a
sign of the fact that we can and do cooperate on issues of mutual
interest, that we work them out and have a way of making clear where
both countries stand on daily issues.

And I think while it may sound as if there is a great deal of process
involved here, I think that that is actually the daily bread of
diplomats of how we move our relations closer together. And I am very
satisfied that we are on a good road. I know that there are lots of
people that are looking for confrontation. There are issues on which
we don't agree. And as I said before, that is not unnatural. But I
have been very impressed in our discussions in the last two days about
our ability to either solve something immediately or to be able to set
up a procedure that allows our experts to look at the issues and work
through the various problems. I think that is a very appropriate
relationship for two mature friends.

Q: My question is to the Russian Foreign Minister. Given the record of
Mr. Milosevic in Kosovo so far, how can Russia persuade Mr. Milosevic
to perhaps behave differently there?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I think our main task now is -- I mean the
international community -- to work out a concrete plan, concrete
further steps of political settlement because the current situation,
unfortunately, favors various provocations, various actions that can
merely complicate the situation.

Movement toward political settlement is unfortunately lacking. So the
task of the international community now is to work out such a plan, to
put it on the negotiating table and to persuade both parties to sit
down at the negotiating table and to start concrete discussion on
political settlement. Without it, progress on this issue will
unfortunately be very complex.

Q: Gornostayev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta. You have just said that our
experts started studying the explanations provided by the Americans on
the ABM Treaty and that there will be a mission here in February. Are
we sure that pending the final resolution of the fate of the ABM, the
United States will not make any unilateral actions on the issue?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: We diplomats are guided in our work by
concrete facts and documents. We have a message from the President of
the United States, we have a message from the Vice President which
confirm the commitment to the ABM Treaty. All the other issues, as we
have discussed with Ms. Albright today, must be discussed. Any
possible plans must be agreed and this is what we spoke about. At
present it would be premature to speak anything concrete a priori. Any
concerns, and we have naturally got concerns, must be presented and
discussed in the spirit of frankness and partnership.

Such a discussion is underway and I think this is of fundamental
importance to avoid any surprises.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I would like to answer that. I think that in the
discussions about the ABM, I made it very clear that we are committed
to the ABM Treaty as central to our whole arms control structure.
There are, however, new threats in the world that frankly both
countries need to consider.

I think it is very important that for primarily Russian audience, but
also American audience, understand that there has been no deployment
decision that would come in the middle of next year at the earliest.
And were there a need to deploy and an ability to do so, because of
the technology, that would not happen until the year 2005.

All that has happened now is that our budget contains money for
research and development, and we are going to carry on transparent
discussions with the Russians about where we are and the ABM Treaty
and we'll be making very clear how this is progressing. And the next
steps are, in fact, that the Strategic Stability Group in February
will continue the discussion.

But I think it is a big mistake if people believe in some form or
another that decisions on deployment have been taken. They have not
been taken, and deployment under any circumstances would not happen
until 2005 if the threat situation continues and if, in fact, these
kinds of systems are feasible; the national missile defense is what I
am speaking about. Thank you.

Q:  (Inaudible).

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We want to see the continued implementation of the
Wye Memorandum. The first phase of that has been implemented, but the
second phase in some -- on the Palestinian side, certain parts have
been implemented and others have not. And the same is true on the
Israeli side. And we are going to keep pressing for the implementation
because this was an agreement signed by two parties that need to be
lived up to in their fullest. Thank you.

(end transcript)