News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

Tuesday, June 6, 2000
Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen

(Secretary Cohen live interview on CNN's Early Edition)


Carol Lin, CNN: In light of how President Clinton left things with President Putin, a bit of a stalemate you might say, where do you start with the Russian defense minister when it comes to missile defense strategy in the future?

Secretary Cohen: Well, there has been quite a transition on the part of the Russian leader in the last month. Just a few weeks ago the Russian spokesperson for the president was saying there is no missile threat, that this is being exaggerated and somehow artificially concocted in order to allow the United States to develop a system to defend us against an imaginary threat. Today President Putin has said there is a threat, and so I think a great deal of progress has already been made. Now the question is how do we meet that threat and what sort of proposal does President Putin really have in mind. Is it a matter of tactics on his part to try to diffuse the momentum of supporting a national missile defense system or is it something that will potentially work on a universal basis. These are the kinds of discussions I will have with my counterpart while I'm over in Moscow.

Carol Lin, CNN: All right, and it is a good day to remember how we can prevent war. Thank you very much for joining us this morning, Secretary of Defense William Cohen.