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THE WHITE HOUSE              
Office of the Press Secretary  

For Immediate Release                                        
May 4, 1995 
                               PRESS BRIEFING                                    
...............BY SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER,                    
                .............. AND SECRETARY 
...........................OF TREASURY ROBERT RUBIN                              

 The Briefing Room   2:25 P.M. EDT 

	SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  As you all know, President Clinton 
will participate next week in an important series of events to 
commemorate the 50th anniversary of V-E Day, as well as to meet with 
the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia.In Moscow and Kiev, the 
President will honor the immense wartime  sacrifice of the people of 
Europe, especially those in the East -- in Russia and Ukraine and 
Belarus and Poland -- on whose territory the bloodiest fighting took 

             It also will be an opportunity for the President to 
recall the wartime alliance with Moscow.  That alliance, of course, 
was based upon opposition to a common enemy.  It was an alliance 
that did not outlast the defeat of that enemy.  Today the progress 
toward democratic institutions in the Soviet Union has given us an 
opportunity to build a lasting set of new relationships, this time 
based upon shared interests and shared values among the peoples and 
governments of our countries.

             Working constructively with Russia and the other new 
independent states is in the overwhelming interest of the United 
States. The stakes are just enormous.  The question is not whether 
we will engage with Russia, but how.

             From the outset, President Clinton has pursued a policy 
of pragmatic engagement with Russia and the other new independent 
states. We've been able to provide critical support for political 
and economic reform in these countries, and, as a result, we are a 
safer nation than we were two years ago than at the present time.

             The United States and Russia have cooperated very 
successfully on matters that are of vital importance to every 
American. I personally worked with Russia on a wide range of 
interests, a wide range of issues that are of great interest to the 
people of the United States, from peace in the Middle East, to troop 
withdrawals from the Baltics, to the agreements Ukraine and 
Kazakhstan and Belarus to have them give up their nuclear weapons, 
to discussions on the arresting of North Korea's nuclear weapon.  
Now, to give another example, we are working very closely with 
Russia on the indefinite extension of the nonproliferation treaty.

             Pragmatic engagement with Russia means that we'll 
continue to cooperate with them where our interests coincide and to 
manage our differences candidly and constructively where they do not 
coincide.  We, obviously, face a number of important new challenges 
in what is and always will be a very complicated set of 
relationships.  However complex they are, we certainly are not 
nostalgic for the Cold War.  Today, every difference of view that 
emerges is not a crisis.  When Russia's actions threaten our 
interests, we will continue to speak openly, appropriately and to 
act constructively.  We'll be finding solutions with them, with a 
common aim to find those solutions.

             The support that we have given Russia over the period 
of our administration have been more than justified by the results 
that we have achieved.  We'd be very short-sighted to withdraw our 
support just because we didn't agree on every single issue.  It's 
essential that we remain steady and patient, with a clear sense of 

             To encourage pluralism in Russia, we continue to deal 
with Russia as a pluralistic society.  In that vein, the President, 
when he's in Moscow, will meet with a range of Russian leaders, 
particularly those who are committed to reform.  In his televised 
speech at Moscow State University, the President will pay tribute to 
the tremendous effort the Russian people have made to achieve 
political and economic change.  He'll encourage them to stay the 
course, despite the pain and frustration of what they're going 

             Any lasting relationship -- the President strongly 
believes any lasting relationship with Russia must be based upon a 
solid relationship with the Russian people, and that is the 
fundamental reason why he has decided to go to Russia for the 
commemoration for this important event.

             In his meetings with President Yeltsin on the second 
day of the trip, the President will be addressing a number of issues 
based upon our pragmatic engagement and our new ability in this 
post- Cold War period to deal with Russia in a business-like and 
constructive way on the issues that we can agree on and those that 
divide us. We'll be focusing in particular on our continuing effort 
to strengthen European security.

             As you know, the President has put forth a 
comprehensive program for the strengthening of OSCE, for the 
invigoration of the partnership for Peace, for the establishment for 
a special relationship between Russia and NATO and to continue on 
the steady, careful path of NATO expansion.  It's important to 
recognize that these initiatives have given Russia's new 
democracies, those who are now members of the Partnership For Peace, 
a very tangible incentive to complete their post-
communist transformation, to reform their military establishments, 
and to stay on the path to democracy and market reform.

             In his visit to Moscow, the President will be 
reiterating that NATO's enlargement is moving forward deliberately 
and openly.  He will stress it's in Russia's interest to have a 
constructive dialogue with NATO and to not isolate itself from the 
mainstream of Europe.  The path to NATO-Russia engagement is open.  
We will be making the point to Russia that it is their decision to 
make.  Full participation in the Partnership For Peace and the 
signing of the separate document between Russia and NATO would be 
the best way for Russia to move forward.

             The President will also be discussing a number of arms 
control issues, and Secretary Perry will be alluding to those in 
somewhat more detail.  Let me touch on one, and that is cooperation 
with Iran on nuclear matters, to which we are opposed.

             The President will stress our strong conviction that 
any nuclear cooperation with Iran poses very serious risks for 
Russia, poses most serious risks for undermining the Middle East 
peace process, interferes with our aim to stop nuclear 
proliferation, and the point we'll be making most firmly, it's in 
Russia's own interest to cease this nuclear cooperation with Iran.

             In the course of those discussions, the President will 
be reviewing certain very sensitive information concerning Russia's 
-- pardon me -- concerning Iran's true intentions.  He'll be 
reminding President Yeltsin that none of the G-7 countries feel that 
it's safe to cooperate with Iran on nuclear matters.  To put it 
simply, Iran has no legitimate basis for trying to develop a nuclear 
reactor program.  We hope that over time the Russians will come to 
share this conclusion that we feel so deeply.

             President Clinton will also have an opportunity to 
express his concern over the very recent reports that the Russian 
Atomic Energy Ministry has indicated that it has made a tentative 
agreement to sell gas, centrifuges to Iran, and to engage in 
extensive training of Iran's nuclear physicists.  This effort in our 
judgment would contribute directly to the nuclear capability in 
Iran, to its bomb making capability.  And the President wants to 
make it clear that he feels that this should be halted at once.

             Of course, we understand that Russia has an economic 
interest in this kind of cooperation, but we feel that the 
President's decision to ban U.S. trade and investment in Iran shows 
that we're prepared to make sacrifices to halt the nuclear march by 
Iran and its support for terrorism.  And we hope that over time 
Russia will come to agree with us in this conclusion.

             Turning to another subject, the President will restate 
our concerns about the conflict in Chechnya and urge an end to the 
quest there by Russia for a military solution.  We believe that 
Russia should implement a permanent cease-fire; that it should 
cooperate fully with the OSCE assistance group that's now operating 
there; and also to allow the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian 
goods, medicines and foods and the like.  As long as it continues 
this tragic struggle in Chechnya it will have, I think, adverse 
implications for Russia's democracy, as well as getting Russia a bad 
name in international circles.

             I want to emphasize the importance of the President's 
stop in Kiev.  It will be the second time within six months that the 
President has met with President Kuchma.  Last year, under President 
Kuchma, has been a landmark year for Ukraine.  It's given up its 
nuclear weapons and it's acceded to the Nonproliferation Treaty.  It 
held three presidential elections, and saw a peaceful transfer of 
power, launched a program of economic reform.  And I must say that 
the effort the United States has made to assist Ukraine has been an 
effort that I think has paid very big dividends for the United 
States.  And it is well worthwhile.

             With Ukraine's reform now on track, the President's aim 
in this particular meeting will be to lay out a new U.S.-Ukraine 
agenda based upon expanded trade and investment.  We want to 
strengthen our economic and security ties, and have an expanded 
cooperation in space and science.

             Despite a host of problems, Ukraine is making strong 
steps in the right direction and I think it justifies our support; 
indeed, it justifies expanded support.  The President has been 
working hard to get ready for this trip.  Both of the last two 
evenings we've had long sessions going over the difficult agenda 
that I have just spelled out for you.  I think the President regards 
it as extremely important trip, and I think the preparation has 
reflected the seriousness with which he is addressing this.

             Now, may I turn to Secretary Perry.

             SECRETARY PERRY:  Thank you very much, Secretary 
Christopher.  Last month I visited Ukraine and Russia for the 
purpose of, first of all, as a preparation for the summit meeting, 
but even more importantly, just part of our regular engagement with 
Russia on matters of security interest.

             I want to emphasize that we cooperate with Russia on 
security issues of mutual interest to both countries.  In my visit, 
about 90 percent of our time was spent developing more and more 
effective ways of cooperating in these areas of mutual interest.  
About 10 percent of the time was spent discussing problem areas in 
security and trying to find ways of resolving those issues.  I give 
you those two percentages because the media reporting on the visit 
all dealt with the 10 percent, in the problem area, nothing on the 
90 percent which was the -- and what I'd like to do briefly today is 
describe to you a little bit what the other 90 percent is and give 
you some basis for judging whether it is worth our concentration of 
effort in these areas.

             The areas of cooperation, where we have mutual 
interests, first of all, preventing the re-emergence of a nuclear 
threat between Russia and the United States.  Secondly is preventing 
the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, 
biological and chemical to rogue nations to terrorists which could 
threaten both of our countries.  The third is cooperation on 
military exercises, peacekeeping, search and rescue operations, 
humanitarian relief.  We've already had four or five such joint 

             We have a few more planned for this year -- confidence 
building, detailed meetings, military-to-military, defense-to-
defense officials.  And all of these form the basis of our very 
detailed engagement which we have with the Russians in the security 

             Now, in this field, let me just take one of the areas, 
which is the nuclear area, and describe to you the progress that's 
being made in that area, the things we're discussing, the things we 
have underway.

             Already we have eliminated 2,400 nuclear warheads -- 
2,400 nuclear warheads have been removed from the missiles and the 
strategic bombers in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan; 600 
missiles and bombers have been dismantled.  Now, both the United 
States and Russia are well ahead of the schedule on this 
dismantlement that's called for in the START I Treaty.  Indeed, 
Russia reports just this past week that the last nuclear weapon has 
left Kazakhstan, and that Kazakhstan is now a nuclear-free state.  
Ukraine and Belarus will be free of nuclear weapons next year.

             Now, to put that in some perspective for you, I visited 
last year, Pervomaysk, which is in the Ukraine, one of the premiere 
ICBM sites in the former Soviet Union.  And at that time there were 
700 nuclear weapons at that one site, all targeted to cities in the 
United States.  A year from now that whole site will just be wheat 
fields.  All of the weapons, all of the silos, all of the launches 
will be gone.

             I wanted to show you two pictures I took on this last 
trip to illustrate this dismantlement.  This is a picture that was 
taken in Russia at the Engels Air Base, which is where they have the 
dismantlement of their bombers underway under START I and under the 
CFE Treaty.  There are almost 100 bombers in various states of 
dismantlement at this air base.  It is truly an awesome site to see 

             What you see here is a Bear bomber being sawed up into 
little pieces by a Russian.  We have sent equipment to them to 
facilitate and to speed up this whole process, including huge 
crushers and shearing machines, and a most dramatic machine called a 
guillotine, which chops the wings off of airplanes in a mass 
production basis.

             The next picture shows a scene at the Pervomaysk.  This 
is an SS-19 ICBM, which was removed from the silo while we were 
there and taken for destruction.  On my previous visit there we saw 
the warheads being taken off the SS-24 ICBM.  This is the site which 
I said had 700 warheads a year ago, and a year from now will be 
nothing but wheat fields.

             The point I make on emphasizing this program is that we 
do have disagreements with Russia in the security field.  But in 
this core area of cooperation that is so important us, it is strong 
and it is producing results, and we must stay engaged with Russia to 
continue this process.

             Clinton-Yeltsin summits not only perform this 
engagement, they have helped to keep this reduction of the nuclear 
threat on track, indeed, they have brought about an acceleration of 
it.  So there is nothing more important to our security relationship 
than keeping this nuclear reduction on track and underway, and this 
is a key part of our engagement with Russia today.


             SECRETARY RUBIN:  Thank you, Bill.  This is not an 
economic summit.  On the other hand, as Secretary Christopher said, 
economic policy is integrally related to foreign policy.  And I 
might add as an aside that that's reflected in the really excellent 
working relationship that the economic team has with the foreign 
policy team in this administration.  For Russia and for the Ukraine, 
economic reform clearly lies at the heart of political reform, 
social reform, and all of the objectives that this administration is 
seeking to achieve.

             There is an impression abroad, I think, that Russia has 
had a very difficult time economically, and clearly, there are many 
very serious problems.  On the other hand, an enormous amount has 
been accomplished.  Prices are free, industry has been privatized -- 
something like 12,000 of the largest companies have been privatized 
under the first stage of the privatization program -- and well over 
half -- and I think this is the most striking statistic of all -- in 
the roughly four years of economic reform, well over half of GDP is 
in the private sector.

             Moreover, while GDP has fallen, real income has risen, 
and the reconciliation of those two numbers is number one, GDP does 
not include -- or their GDP statistics do not pick up much of what 
goes on in the private sector; secondly, a lot of what has been lost 
has been military and other production that has not been part of the 
real income of the Russian people.

             Having said all that, what an enormous amount has been 
accomplished, a great deal remains to be done.  For one thing, 
Russia needs to build confidence in its reform effort into 
consistency.  We are very encouraged by Russia's 1995 economic 
program which, with our support, earned an IMF standby program of 
$6.8 billion.  On the other hand, if you go back over the last three 
years, what you had is a number of programs that have started out 
with great hope in the macroeconomic stabilization area and then 
been dashed. In our judgment, 1995 is clearly a pivotal year for 
economic reform in Russia.

             In the spirit of supporting that reform, we will 
continue to support IMF, World Bank lending.  We have taken 
leadership in the G-7 with respect to rescheduling the 1995 debt 
rescheduling.  And if Russia sticks with this program -- and this is 
an enormous incentive in addition to the IMF program for sticking 
with reform -- if Russia sticks with this program, then we will 
support next year multiyear rescheduling of Russia's debt.

             While we're in Russia we will also discuss tax policy 
and the legal foundations for private markets, both of which are 
critical for Russia's economy as it goes forward.  Russia's capital 
markets are substantially underdeveloped.  We think there is an 
enormous amount that we can do to help them work through the 
requisites for effective capital markets.

             It's very interesting -- the entire value, or market 
valuation of Russia's top 50 companies is $20 billion.  That's less 
than quite a number of the largest companies, individual companies, 
market capitalization in the United States.

             Secretary Christopher mentioned the Ukraine, and it 
tends to get a little bit overlooked as people look forward to this 
trip.  But the Ukraine is extremely important.  They began down the 
road of economic reform later than Russia, but as Secretary 
Christopher said, since President Kuchma's election last summer, 
Ukraine has embraced bold reforms and has begun freeing its economy 
from the strictures of the past.  A solid start has been made in the 
Ukraine.  That was responsible for securing the IMF support for $1.5 
billion standby program.  The G-7 in Naples pledged to support $4 
billion from the IMF, World Bank, and various bilateral sources over 
a two-year period.  Already $2.7 billion has been committed, and 
there are commitments for a further $1 billion.

             We are very actively involved in working with Russia 
and very actively involved in working with the Ukraine on the 
requisites for economic reform in both countries.  Thank you.

             Q  One item -- perhaps, Secretary Perry --conventional 
weapons.  During the last summit the two Presidents agreed there 
would be no new Russian arms deals with Iran, but existing contracts 
could be fulfilled.  It turned out some had three years to go and 
involved submarines.  I don't know if you've ever gotten the list.  
I wish you would tell us what they're going to do.  And can you 
whittle that down any -- technicians and experts go along with 
those, as well, don't they, as well as with nuclear deals?  Isn't 
there any alarm or concern there? Didn't you let them off a little 
too easy last time?

             SECRETARY PERRY:  They're about halfway done with those 
contracts.  Let's take the nuclear -- or the diesel electric 
submarines, for example.  Two of them have been delivered; a third 
is to be delivered.  That's typical of the status.

             We do not see cause for concern on the level and the 
nature of conventional arms being transferred.  We would prefer they 
not be transferred, but we're -- quite satisfied with the agreement 
not to continue transfer.

             The Russians have a very, very substantial capability 
in conventional arms and in conventional arm technology.  And it 
would give us a very substantial problem if they were to make a free 
transfer of those to the Iranians.  So I'd like to focus on the 
positive side of that, which is their agreement to cut that off 
after those present contracts.

             Maybe Secretary Christopher would like to add to that.

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I'd add to that by saying 
that we hope that Russia will join the so-called COCOM regime which 
is an agreement that we've entered into with our European allies and 
I think the only thing that stands between Russia joining, that is, 
working out the arrangements with respect to their sales to Iran, 
those negotiations are going forward.  The Vice President has been 
exchanging information with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin on that 
subject, and we're hoping we can bring Russia into COCOM so as to 
regularize and limit their conventional weapons transfers in the 

             Q  Mr. Secretary, you talked about the pressure the 
President intends to use on the Iranian deal -- the gas centrifuge 
and the lightwater reactors.  But you didn't really talk about 
whether or not the U.S. is able to say that there will be 
consequences for the relationship if Russia goes forward with this 
deal, and I wondered if you might tell us whether there will be any 

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, let me back up just a 
step or two on that.  As I said in my statement, the United States 
believes that there is no legitimate basis for Iran to seek a 
nuclear reactor.  They do not have a shortage of energy, and so we 
deduced that they are seeking a nuclear reactor program is because 
they have intentions to create a nuclear weapons capability and 
that's confirmed by our other -- other information that we have.

             We intend to make that information available to the 
Russians.  We have all ready done a good deal of that, and I'm sure 
that will be a focus of the conversation between President Yeltsin 
and President Clinton.  I answer the question in that way as a 
beginning because we think it's strongly in the interest of Russia 
to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability.  Why 
in the world they'd want to have a near neighbor developing a 
nuclear weapons capability with the reputation that Iran has for 

             Now, beyond that, as you know, we've recently learned 
that Russia is considering the sale of gas centrifuge equipment to 
Iran, I think, which only can confirm what the intentions of the 
Iranians are. Another very strong reason for encouraging them not to 
go forward.  The United States will be making those arguments in the 
strongest terms.  We understand that Russia has a economic interest 
in this sale, but the decision the President took last Sunday, I 
think, puts him in a very good position to argue to the Russians 
that they ought to recognize that sacrifice the United States is 
making and make a similar sacrifice over time.

             As I have said on other occasions, the extent to which 
Russia is welcomed into the institutions of the West, such as G-7, I 
think, will depend upon the perceptions of their conduct in matters 
such as their relationships with Iran, as well as their situation in 
Chechnya. I think they have all ready suffered considerably in the 
international community by reason of their actions.  The European 
Union, the Council of Europe have all taken cognizance of what they 
are doing, and I think that is the principal basis that we would 
have at the present time for urging them not to go ahead -- plus 
their own self interest, which is the strongest reason of all.

             Q  So, if I could just follow up, you're then saying 
that the United States will not say, if you go forward with this, 
then the U.S. is prepared to do that?

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think that the United States 
has such a broad relationship with Russia that we should not make 
any single the issue the talisman of that relationship.  We should 
not hold the whole relationship hostage to any single issue, 
important as that issue is.  But we'll have a strong basis for 
making these arguments.  We'll continue to make them over time.

             Q  Mr. Secretary, I would like to ask two-part 
question.  I would like to ask what decisions does President Yeltsin 
have to make right in this -- that it's possible to ease the 
relationship and overcome some of these problems?  And Secretary 
Perry, I would like to ask you, is NATO a military organization?  
And if it is, why shouldn't Russia feel threatened if you want to 
expand?  I mean, who's the enemy?

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  As you know from things you've 
read, President Yeltsin has reserved to himself many of the major 
decisions in connection with the forthcoming summit.

             We're not expecting any great series of breakthroughs. 
We're not expecting all the outstanding problems to be resolved.  
What we do expect and are certain we will have is an opportunity to 
have a serious engagement with Russia, a serious discussion.

             I think that we can expect to call their attention to 
matters that they maybe have not perhaps fully considered in the 
past. There are steps that can be taken on many of the issues that 
would be positive from the standpoint of the relationship.  But I 
would urge you not to judge this particular meeting, this particular 
summit by tangible progress on 8, 10 issues.  I would urge that it 
be judged on whether or not we've had a solid engagement, whether 
we've been able to exchange views, whether there has been a 
recognition of the positions that we're putting forward.

             But, that being said, I would hope that by the time we 
return, by the time of the end of next week, we'll have solid 
progress on several of the issues.

             SECRETARY PERRY:  I have said many times to Russian 
leaders that NATO poses no threat to Russia, and NATO does not see 
Russia as a threat to it.  What NATO does today and what its members 
perceive that it does today is create a zone of security and 
stability in Europe.  And the reason all 16 of the NATO members 
continue to participate in NATO is because they believe that zone of 
security and stability is important and they want to be a part of 

             We have discussed with Russia and recommended to Russia 
things they can do to participate in that zone.  The first and most 
important is to become not only a full-fledged member of the 
Partnership For Peace, a participant in the Partnership For Peace, 
but be a leader in the Partnership For Peace and taking initiative 
in joint exercises, for example.

             And, secondly, to form a security agreement with NATO, 
forming what could be, for example, a consultative commission which 
discusses security issues of mutual interest between NATO and 
Russia. All of that would tend to bring Russia into this same zone 
of security and stability.

             Q  Secretary Christopher, are you satisfied that all 
this public pressure on Mr. Yeltsin on these transactions with Iran 
has not had the unintended consequence of making it harder for him 
to give ground on these things, instead of the other way around?

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I see the public attention to 
this as being a very positive factor.  My own feeling is that we 
brought to President Yeltin's attention -- and President Clinton 
will have an opportunity to do so even more -- some facts that 
perhaps he wasn't fully aware of.  I think that the proposed sale of 
the gas centrifuge plants by the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry is 
something that deserves the greatest attention, which I have reason 
to believe perhaps had not in the past.

             So, no, I see it as a very positive factor.  I want to 
emphasize that the decision the President took with respect to Iran 
was one that we hope will have a long-term effect.  We do not expect 
miracles.  We did not expect at the time the President took the 
decision that all of our allies would say we're going to take an 
exactly similar position.  But we do think it enhances our 
capability to speak with not only the Russians, but also the other 
countries that might be trading with Iran and urge them not to give 
concessionary credits, and certainly not to engage in nuclear 

             Q  trying private quiet diplomacy on this first, or 

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, we certainly have been 
talking with the Russians about it over the last many months.  But I 
think that this kind of a dialogue between our two countries is a 
positive, constructive matter.  These are matters of importance to 
the Russian people, as well as the Russian government.  So I would 
see no basis for trying to conduct these discussions purely in 
secret.  It seems to me desirable that there be a transparency about 
these matters, both as to what Russia intends to do, as well as the 
opposition the United States has.

             Q  Secretary Christopher or Secretary Perry, news 
reports coming out of Russia today seem to indicate the Russians 
will give Cuba nuclear collaboration.  Have you heard anything about 

             SECRETARY PERRY:  Pardon me?  Give Cuba --

             Q    Cuba seems to have an installation --

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I've not seen those reports 

             Q  Secretary Christopher, Sergei Kovalev is in town, as 
you know, and has spoken with a number of top administration 
officials and expressed concern that the President and the 
administration have not spoken out forcefully enough on Chechnya, 
and is suggesting even that Clinton's appearance in Moscow at this 
time amounts to acquiescence in the Russian activity there and 
military actions there.  What is your response to that and, again, 
to follow Rita's question, what will be the consequences of Russia's 
continued assault on Chechnya people?

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, let me emphasize first 
that from the very beginning, going back to last December 17th, as 
soon as the Chechnya exercise began we spoke out against it.  I 
spoke out against it in the very earliest days, calling for them to 
stop the endeavor and to respect human rights in connection with 
that.  Our position has been consistent on that all the way through.

             The Deputy Secretary and I met yesterday with Mr.  
Kovalev. We had a good discussion with him about what might be done 
in Chechnya and I continue to think that it's desirable for the 
President to engage on that subject.  I think we have a pragmatic 
engagement with Russia and the essence of that is to be able to 
discuss matters where we differ.

             So I think it's desirable the President be able to meet 
face to face with President Yeltsin and to make clear to him the 
disadvantage that that conflict is to Russia, both in terms of its 
relationships, as well as its relationships in the international 
community.  I don't have any question but that we have made clear 
our views and will continue to make clear our views.  And I think 
that Mr.  Kovalev, who has performed many respect heroically in this 
matter and has to recognize that the United States is doing what it 
can to try to ensure that this conflict comes to an end.

             As far as the penalties, I can only repeat that the 
trend of Russia's acceptance into Western institutions will be 
importantly influenced by the way they conduct themselves in such 
matters as Chechnya, as well as others.  They've come a long way 
toward integration into Western institutions, but I think the extent 
to which they take the next steps -- for example, with respect to 
the G-7 -- are going to be importantly influenced by their conduct 
in such matters as Chechnya.

             Q  There's been some hope within the administration 
that by the time the two Presidents met again both countries would 
have ratified START II.  What is your assessment now of the 
prospects with the Russian Parliament ratifying the treaty, and how 
do you believe public pressure on issues like Chechnya and Iran has 
affected that?

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, as far as the United 
States is concerned, I think we're proceeding in an orderly way.  
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has completed its hearings, 
and it seems to me that we're moving toward ratification, with the 
leadership of Senator Lugar, who is the Chairman Pro Tem on this 

             We've had an unusually good opportunity within the last 
several days with a delegation of the top members of the Duma here.  
I've met with them, and Secretary Perry has met with them, and 
they've indicated that they're going to proceed with the 
ratification of START II.  They think it will be a considerable 
process.  Hearings have not begun, but nevertheless, I think they 
are determined to move ahead on this.  I think it will take a 
substantial period of time to do that, but nevertheless, I don't see 
any signs that they do not feel as we do that that particular treaty 
is in the self-interest of both of the nations. And we're proceeding 
down that track.

             Q  Mr. Secretary, just to follow up on that, there's 
talk in Russia that the Duma would like to modify the treaty.  Can 
you accept any modifications?

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We don't see any basis for 
modifying the treaty.  And those members of the Duma that I talked 
to and Secretary Perry talked to talked about ratifying the treaty 
in its present form.  I can't exclude the fact that there's some 
individual members of the Duma who might want to modify the treaty, 
just as there might be in any parliamentary body.  But we're 
considering that very important treaty in its present terms.

             Secretary Perry, you don't have any different view of 
that, do you?  (Laughter.)

             SECRETARY PERRY:  Not on your life.  (Laughter.)

             No, I discussed with the three leaders of the Duma just 
the day before yesterday this very question, and they are moving 
ahead vigorously to try to get a ratification of this treaty just as 
we are. My estimate is it's going to take them longer than it takes 
us because they're not as far along in the process.   They have -- 
as Secretary Christopher indicated -- they have not even started 
hearings yet.

             I do expect proposals from some members of the Duma for 
changes in it.  My belief is that those proposals will not prevail 
and that there will be an up or down vote on it -- on the treaty as 
proposed. And I believe that vote will ultimately be successful.  
What I cannot forecast is when that's going to happen.  Hopefully, 
we hope and the Duma members I talked with also hope it will be done 
before the parliamentary elections coming up later this year.

             Q  Back to Iran.  Will you be satisfied for the 
purposes of this summit if the Russians would agree to put aside the 
sale of the gas centrifuges, would you consider that a significant 

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Not at all.  We would not be 
satisfied by that.  The nuclear cooperation reflected by the reactor 
sale and the technology that would go with that, the scientists that 
would accompany it, seems to us to be a step in the wrong direction 
toward the creation of a nuclear weapons capability.

             Now, let me divide that part of it from the recent 
information about the gas centrifuge sale, which seems to us to 
confirm what Iran's intentions are.  It's a very strong reason for 
not going forward with the program in any respect.  I want to 
emphasize that we're not expecting great breakthroughs at this time.  
We expect this would be a process that will continue over time, but 
we hope to persuade the Russians over time that this nuclear 
cooperation with Iran is very strongly not in their self-interest 
and that we hope the whole program will be brought to an end.

             Q  Secretary Rubin, can you give us some specific 
examples of agreements or ways and means in which the President is 
going to help the Russians along or move the process of economic 
reform along on this?

             SECRETARY RUBIN:  I don't think there will be 
particular agreements coming out of this trip.  But the Russian -- 
we met with Deputy Prime Minister Chubays when he was here for the 
G-7 meeting, and he -- there's a very strong and understandable 
interest in pursuing debt rescheduling, as I mentioned.  And we'll 
be discussing that when we're in Moscow in a separate set of 

             There is great interest in Russia in developing capital 
markets, and we'll be working with them, providing technical 
assistance in capital markets.  I think there are a lot of issues 
with respect to the tax structure and various other components of an 
architecture that you need if you're going to have economic reform.  
It's not a question of individual agreements, it's a question of 
continuing our work with them in these various areas.

             Q  Do you know if either the Cyprus and the Kurdish 
issue will be an agenda of the summit?

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Cyprus?

             Q    And the Kurds.

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I have not seen the Cyprus 
issue on the agenda of the summit.  It's entirely possible that the 
Kurdish issue will be discussed in connection with the Turkish 
action in Iraq.  But I think the mention of those two subjects is an 
indication of just how rich the agenda might be, and I want to 
emphasize that the two Presidents only have the second day and 
perhaps a small part of the third day in which they might meet.  And 
they'll have a very full plate with the issues that I mentioned.

             Q  spent fuel from the reactors?  There's a report just 
now from the U.N. -- Iranian sources saying the fuel would be 
returned to Russia.  Is that part of some bargain?  Does that help 
at all?

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Spent fuel from which reactor?

             Q  From those reactors that they provide, the reactors 
that the Russians provide.  That the fuel be taken back to Russia -- 
apparently willing to concede that.

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We're hearing a number of 
reports about ways in which the program might be scaled back or 
things that might be done.  Frankly, we think the entire nuclear 
cooperation program should be brought to an end because it really 
reflects the desire on the part of the Iranians to move to a weapons 
capability.  And although there may be some desirable changes like 
this which would be welcome standing alone, nevertheless, I think 
our aim and our expectation is that we will be making the argument 
in the broadest terms and will not be ultimately satisfied by 
anything other than the end of the nuclear cooperation program, 
which I want to emphasize all members of the G-7 have ended as far 
as cooperation with Iran goes.

             Q  You said that you recognize that Russia has economic 
interests here and that's one of their motivations.  Is there 
anything you can do to replace the money that they'd make from the 

             SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Let me say two things about 
that. First, since ending this program is in the self-interest of 
Russia, I would not think that they needed that kind of incentive.  
But we do recognize they do have an economic interest.  If they go 
forward with this program, it would be virtually impossible for us 
to have peaceful nuclear cooperation with Russia which would be a 
benefit to them.  If the program comes to an end it will open the 
door to considerably greater peaceful nuclear cooperation which 
could be to their financial advantage.

             THE PRESS:  Thank you.

                                 END 3:05 P.M. EDT
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