November 18, 1999


7:00 P.M. (L)

                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                            (Istanbul, Turkey)
For Immediate Release                              November 18, 1999

                              PRESS BRIEFING

                             The Conrad Hotel
                             Istanbul, Turkey

7:00 P.M. (L)

     MR. BERGER:  Now, I get so little respect from Leavy that he doesn't
even introduce me.  (Laughter.)

     Let me give you a readout on the meeting between President Yeltsin and
President Clinton.  It was a vigorous meeting, the two Presidents
expressing strong convictions.  They expressed their views on Chechnya, not
too dissimilar from what you heard in the plenary session.


     But on other subjects, they talked about arms control.  They reviewed
the recent exchange of letters that I mentioned to you yesterday on both
nuclear reductions, the ABM treaty, NMD.  I think the President clarified
for President Yeltsin some legislation that he had signed last year which
had some prefatory language about national missile defense, which Yeltsin
believed reflected a firm decision on our part.  The President explained,
as I have here before, that he will decide this next year based on the four
factors that I've talked about:  threat, cost, technical feasibility, and
the effect on arms control, and our overall security.

     The President reiterated that the NMD systems that we're looking at
are directed at rogue states -- maybe even, 10 years from now, terrorists
who might have missiles; that Russia's own generals say they can overwhelm
this system, and therefore it should not be a threat to their deterrence.
They agreed to continue parallel discussions on START III and the ABM.

     President Yeltsin raised the question of going further than we have
before on dealing with plutonium stockpiles.  He said he was increasingly
concerned with this because of the risk that they could get in the hands of
terrorists.  We have had good cooperation with the Russians in this area in
the past, and the President suggested that we have our experts discuss how
we can intensify that.

     President Yeltsin noted -- I would say with a little bit of irony in
his voice -- that the Duma had approved the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
in the past several days.  The President indicated that he believed, as he
said before, that the Senate at some point will take this up again, and
eventually will ratify the CTBT.

     On the CFE agreement, they noted that we're in the final stages of
negotiation, and the President indicated the importance of Russia
concluding agreements with Georgia and Moldova relating to agreement to
withdraw their forces from those two countries, something that we have been
urging the Russians to do now for quite sometime.  Those negotiations are
going on here in Istanbul; hopefully, they will reach a successful
conclusion.  I think they're at a quite advanced stage.