|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
Joint Press Availability, Treaty Roo
Washington, D.C., April 27, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I am very pleased to have had time with my friend and colleague, Foreign Minister Ivanov, here at the Department of State. We've had much to talk about in these past two days, and although we do not agree on all issues, as I told the Foreign Minister, this is only to be expected. After all, we can't both be right all the time.
In truth, we had some very in-depth conversations about subjects that are at the heart of our bilateral relationship, as we prepare for the meeting of our presidents in June. We obviously spent a lot of time on issues of nonproliferation and arms control.
Both the United States and Russia recognize a responsibility to reduce the threats posed to our own citizens and to world peace by weapons of mass destruction and the missiles that can deliver them.
Accordingly, the Foreign Minister and I devoted much of our time to strategic arms control, and I congratulated him on the Duma's recent approval of START II and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaties. I also expressed American determination to continue working with Russia to promote nuclear stability through further mutual reductions in our arsenals and through preserving the ABM Treaty by adapting it to meet 21st century needs.
We also discussed the need to stem the flow of sensitive technology to countries that could threaten both our nations. To this end, we have made significant progress, but ongoing vigilance and further concrete steps are required.
The Foreign Minister and I reviewed regional security issues, as well. As co-sponsors of the Middle East Peace Process, we focused on the recent visits to Washington of Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat, and on the need for cooler heads to prevail in southern Lebanon.
We talked about the importance of strengthening the forces of tolerance in the Balkans, including Kosovo, and the requirement for maintaining a vigorous international presence.
On Korea, we both welcomed the upcoming North-South Summit, and agreed to continue working together to address common concerns.
We also have shared interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The zero-sum thinking of the Cold War is especially irrelevant here. The US and Russia both gain by helping countries in this region to strengthen sovereignty, achieve democratic progress and counter transnational threats.
Trade and investment were also on our agenda. At lunch yesterday with Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, we discussed ways for Russia to improve its investment climate, including through the ratification of our Bilateral Investment Treaty.
Finally, the Foreign Minister and I resumed our dialogue on Chechnya. The United States looks to Russia to heed the recent call by the UN Human Rights Commission for an investigation of credible reports of human rights violations.
As I think the Foreign Minister agrees, there is no military solution to the conflict in Chechnya. The sooner Russia achieves a political solution, the sooner the suffering of the Chechen people will end and Russia's international standing will recover.
As we saw again during these meetings, the United States and Russia have a broad range of important business to conduct, and we can do so in a businesslike and productive manner.
President Clinton told Minister Ivanov that he is looking forward to his summit with President-elect Putin in that spirit. And I believe that our discussions this week have gone far to preparing the ground for that very important event.
FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: First of all, I would like to sincerely thank the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, for the warm reception accorded to the Russian delegation in Washington. At the core of the meetings here with President Clinton, Secretary of State and other representatives of the US Administration and the leaders of the US Senate and the business interests of the United States and the governor of Texas, Mr. Bush, we put the questions of the furtherance of the Russian-American cooperation.
Special attention in this connection was paid to the preparations for the forthcoming summit meeting in Moscow between President Putin and President of the United States Clinton. Both sides are resolved to do their utmost for the Moscow Summit to become a major event in the Russian-American relations, conducive to the strengthened international security and stability, and a constructive development of interaction between our two countries. We will have a very busy time to prepare this agenda.
As Madame Albright mentioned, an important place in this work belongs to the issues related to strategic stability. After the ratification of the package of agreements on START II and the ABM in 1997, as well as the CTBT, favorable opportunities open for our interaction in this area, including timely or initiation of negotiations without delay on further deep cuts of the strategic offensive arms within START III. We expect that the US side would ratify a similar package of instruments, and this wish was made known yesterday during my meeting with senators.
At the same time, quite naturally, there are certain differences of view, sometimes considerable differences, having to do with the plans to deploy in United States the National Missile Defense System. These issues were discussed in detail both at the State Department and at the Pentagon. We believe, and it has been stressed at the highest level, the ABM treaty of 1972 should remain a cornerstone of the strategic stability and the basis for strategic stability in the world. We are confident that this corresponds to the interests of both Russia and the United States of America.
In this connection, during the consultations in Washington, the Russian side proposed an alternative program of action that would enable, in our view, us to adequately respond to new threats related inter alia to the threat of the proliferation of missiles and missile technologies. Of principal importance is to address those issues on the basis of dialogue and taking into account mutual interests of each other. The Russian side is fully prepared for it.
In specific terms, we discussed the main regional issues, including the situation in the Balkans, the Middle East settlement, and we also had an exchange on the situation in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Both sides stressed the importance and the urgency of cooperation in fighting such a global challenge as international terrorism.
Considerable attention was devoted to the prospect of economic interaction between Russia and the United States of America. We have agreed that the most considerable economic and trade projects would receive the patronage of the leaders of the two countries.
Now, we in Russia developed a set of serious measures to improve investment climate and to protect the rights of foreign investors, including through the adoption of relevant legal acts. And it is beginning to bring first results, as supported by my meetings with numerous leaders of the business interests of the United States. But one must recognize, at the same time, that our capabilities or the potential of our relations are not yet realized to the full extent and we have a major work ahead.
We are satisfied in general by the negotiations held, and primarily by the environment atmosphere of these negotiations, which was frank and constructive. And we were focused on finding solutions to the questions that we are faced with now. At the same time, negotiations confirmed once again that the positive experience of the eight years of cooperation serves as a good basis for furtherance of interaction between our countries in different areas to ensure continuity in our relations.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, if I understand what the Foreign Minister particularly what he said yesterday correctly, the demarcation agreement of 1997 on the kind of missile tests that would be permissible -- both sides agree -- under the ABM Treaty could be a basis for resolving this dispute over anti-missile defenses. And I was at that meeting and the US was ecstatic with the results of the meeting. Apparently, the US got everything approved that it wanted approved.
Is there a basis now, or at least are you closer to getting around this problem? And if you don't mind me tagging on one little thing: is Senator Jesse Helms a new problem for you?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say, first of all --
QUESTION: I thought you had him neutralized.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say on the demarcation, we were very -- are very -- I pleased with what it did. And it is a very important agreement. But what it does is deal with the issue of shorter range missiles. And we have a new problem. That is the issue. It does not deal with intercontinental ballistic missiles, and that is our concern about how we deal with the new threats.
We have spoken before, and we did again during this meeting, about cooperating on theater missile defense, and we think that it can supplement but it is not sufficient for dealing with the problems that we have. And so I think we will continue to talk about it.
As far as what was said yesterday from the Hill, I believe that the American people support a policy that seeks to both further reduce nuclear dangers left over from the Cold War and to address new threats. And we are going to continue to pursue this policy in the months ahead.
I don't think we can take a pause for the rest of the year in defending US national interests, because neither the threats are taking a pause, nor would it be suitable for us not to be concerned about national interests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the end of this Administration. So I disagree with what Senator Helms said yesterday.
QUESTION: Russian State TV and Radio Company. Ms. State Secretary, will you please ask such a question? Can you imagine the future when the United States build up its new defense system but Russia withdraw from all the military treaties? If yes, how can you see such a future?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I am hoping that, as a result of what will be continued discussions -- they were very intensive here now, they will continue to be -- we will not be in that kind of a position, because I think that we have a great deal that we need to do together and we will continue to have very intensive discussions. We are very involved in analyzing the various problems. I think we had very, very good and productive meetings here and so I would hope that we could continue to talk intensively.
QUESTION: Ben Barber of The Washington Times. Madame Albright, is it possible for the United States to build a limited National Missile Defense, such as the one that's been thought of in Alaska with about 100 interceptors, without bringing this before the US Senate for approval, to allow Jesse Helms to oppose it in his way?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that, obviously, we want to have support for this agreement but, first, we have to get it. And we are going to be involved in intensive discussions.
And as I said, I believe the American people want us to end some of the problems that were left over from the Cold War and deal with the new threats, and that's what we are doing. And I think that we are following what the American people basically want.
QUESTION: Could you describe what economic documents are now being prepared for the forthcoming summit?
And to both foreign ministers, when the START III negotiations could be expected?
FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I think that today, now, it would be premature to name any specific documents to be signed in the course of the summit meeting in Moscow. This is precisely the stuff that we will have to discuss in the near future, including agenda and specific documents. But, at the same time, I would like to stress that now -- and I realized this during my negotiations, including with the business interests of the United States -- the period of disenchantment is over in the United States related to August of 1998, and they realize all too well here that some positive results have been achieved and recorded in our economy in all economic areas -- indicators, rather.
I, for my part, tried to describe the plans that are now in the making in the Russian Government in terms of further strengthening of the legal base, basis for the market economy that would further the basics of the market mechanisms, and create appropriate and encouraging investment climate. My impression is that this information produces hope amongst the American investors and the capital in connection with coming to the Russian markets. At least we will facilitate it.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We had a long discussion about this yesterday. And I think that, in terms of investment, America is already the largest investor in Russia. But I think that what is very important is for there to be a framework established that would encourage increased investment, and it requires a whole set of pieces of legislation, I think, on the Russian side that would give additional confidence to American and other investors.
In terms of START III, I think that President Yeltsin and President Clinton in Cologne said that they wanted to have ABM and START III discussions go on in a parallel form. And we are involved, I think, as I've now said a couple of times, in very intensive discussions on arms control issues and on NMD issues.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, a short time ago, while the two of you were back there talking, Fidel Castro in an interview with CNN directly accused the State Department of throwing up roadblocks and preventing Cuban diplomats from seeing Elian Gonzalez and his father out at the Wye River Plantation. Is this true?
And, secondly, on Iran, how concerned are you about this conservative, hard-line crackdown on Iranian newspapers, and do you think that they will succeed in intimidating Iranian voters ahead of next month's second round of Majlis elections? Thank you.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I think that we have -- the State Department has fulfilled its appropriate role We've granted visas to these playmates, the children that are coming with their either parents or chaperones, and we will look at the cases of Cuban diplomats that want to go to Wye on a case-by-case basis.
On Iran, I think we clearly are very concerned about what is happening there now, and would hope that this is not the overwhelming trend because we were very encouraged by the Majlis elections and some of the other activities there that indicated that there was a movement towards reform.
I think we're going to have to watch this very carefully. There really clearly are two contending approaches for the future of Iran. And in speeches that I've given and in comments, I have pointed out a number of times that those who have voted for President Khatami or for the Majlis reform members are the younger generation, and they are the future of Iran. And so we will watch this very carefully.
QUESTION: Elaine Monaghan of Reuters. Foreign Minister Ivanov, you mentioned that you wanted the United States to ratify a similar package of documents to those approved in Moscow. Do you mean ratification of the CTBT, or is there a wider array of demands that you have?
FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I would like to remind you that Russia ratified the START II Treaty and ratified agreements on the ABM of 1997. Also, the CTBT has been ratified. I think that the ratification of all of these instruments in the United States would serve the interests of the United States and the interests of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the interests of the further reduction of strategic offensive arms.
QUESTION: Do you have an impression that on the issues that separate us certain breakthroughs have been achieved? And are you satisfied after the discussions, difficult discussions, of these issues with Secretary Albright?
FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: First of all, I have a feeling that both in Washington and in Moscow -- and I'm speaking of myself here -- there is a desire to find solutions to the issues where we differ. Indeed, these include the issues of, as we say, vital importance that would determine the future policies in the world and the relations between our two countries.
I came to realize after numerous meetings, primarily with the US President Mr. Clinton and after other negotiations, that there is an understanding and desire within the United States to find such solutions that will take into account the interests of our countries and would further strengthen security in the world. This gives us hope to continue actively to work together and, in this sense, the forthcoming summit meeting between the two presidents, Clinton and Putin, in early June in Moscow would be of particular importance.
QUESTION: I have a question for both. Mr. Minister, the first question to you. The new Russian military doctrine actually says that Russia can use nuclear weapons if all other means did not work, plus it actually extends the nuclear umbrella towards it allies -- without defining who the allies are. So who are the allies of Russia? That's first. And what kind of influence will this new doctrine have on the international stability?
And Mrs. Secretary of State, I wanted to ask you if there were consultations, if this was the topic of this discussions in Washington. And what's your opinion; what kind of impact will it have on the international stability? Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: As far as our new military doctrine is concerned, it is based on the concept of national security which takes into account the prevailing realities of the world. Unfortunately, last year, in connection with the action by NATO, in connection with the new concept of NATO that was adopted by it, with the increased threat from the international terrorism, and due to other challenges, we had to take certain measures that ensured our national interests, that would ensure the defense capability of my country. Thus, the changes introduced to our military doctrine. It does not mean that nuclear weapons would be used as weapons of attack. The nuclear weapons would be used in the event when the national interest, the security of Russia, would be put at danger.
As far as the allies that you mentioned, this is an issue that will be considered in each particular case, and I'm not able to discuss any particular countries now.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say that we did not specifically discuss this issue but, from our perspective, NATO -- and the enlarged NATO -- is not an offensive alliance; it is a defensive alliance and is based on the idea that there is a community that wants to be a part of it. And that is something that we have talked about, is what the enlargement of NATO has meant for Russia. It is not an anti-Russian alliance.
Also, I would like to say that one of the things that we have been talking about is what the new threats are and how they should be dealt with, which is why we are proposing the National Missile Defense and also deep cuts in nuclear weapons. That is the way we think it is appropriate to deal with the threats that we face in the 21st century.
|[End of Document]|