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U.S. Department of State
96/02/10 Remarks with Russian ForMin Primakov
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release February 10, 1996
REMARKS BY SECRETARY WARREN CHRISTOPHER
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER YEVGENI PRIMAKOV
Congress Hall, Kalastajatorppa
February 10, 1995
SPOKESMAN BURNS: Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon. Secretary of
State Christopher and Mr. Primakov will have short statements to make.
After their statements they are going to take four questions from the
press. If you are an American journalist please signal me if you would
like to ask a question. We will start with an American question and
then Mr. Karasin will call on two Russian journalists.
[* Russian-English Translation by Dmitri Zarenchak, U.S. Dept. of State]
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Good morning. The Foreign Minister and I have
now met for about six and a half hours - three and a half hours alone
last night and about three hours this morning with our teams. I would
describe the meetings as being very good and productive. With the
responsibilities the Foreign Minister and I have it is very important
that we have an effective working relationship. I would say that we are
off to a good start.
We have reviewed a very wide range of issues in the time we have had
together and it is clear that the cooperation between our two countries
has served us well in many, many areas. We have close working
relationships and our mutual efforts have been valuable for the cause of
world peace and security and prosperity.
We talked, of course, about the future. Over the next couple of months
we have fairly intensive meetings in the relationship. In particular we
feel that we can make progress in the nuclear area, hopefully the
ratification of the START II treaty; with the nuclear safety summit
coming up in Russia in April which we talked about getting prepared for;
and with the collaboration between our two countries in seeking a
comprehensive test ban.
We were realistic in our discussions today and noted that, although we
have wide areas of agreement, there are also areas where we have
differences. And we said in respect to those areas we would seek to
resolve them and if we couldn't resolve them, we would work out our
differences. So all in all, good and productive meetings. We are off to
a good start. Thank you Mr. Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER PRIMAKOV: Thank you Mr. Secretary of State, you have
already said that we have had very intensive talks here. We devoted all
our time to it so we didn't even have a chance to walk around this
beautiful city. It is our first meeting, a very important meeting for
us. I want to agree with the evaluation of the meeting, it was a very
fruitful one and during this meeting we were able to discuss a large
number of issues. We discussed regional issues in order to resolve
existing conflicts, to combat terrorism, in order to exclude from
international affairs those unpleasant consequences of the cold war
which sometimes are still felt.
We agreed that our relationship from now on would be one of total
equality and will be based on the principles that you have proposed, Mr.
Secretary of State, that I fully agree with. The principles are the
following. We must not place ourselves in a situation where unexpected
things occur fait a complies. We must have consultations. We need to
implement all agreements reached between us and we need to find
solutions to those problems where, for the time being, we have not found
solutions. We do have differences, and we will have differences, but we
need to do all this without sliding into confrontation. Because this
would be very dangerous, not only for our relationship but for the whole
world and for the world order which is now coming into being.
I also want to stress that we discussed a whole range of issues, such
issues as the settlement of the Middle East process, the infrastructure
of European security and the situation in the Asian Pacific region. And
I think we have resolved those issues that are connected with questions
of integration, of countries which formally belonged to the Soviet
Union. I stress that during the talks that no-one is talking about
reinstituting the Soviet Union. This simply cannot be and there is no
talk about any doing away with the sovereignty which the various
republics have acquired. The republics of the former Soviet Union the
sovereignty is irreversible and no-one is forcing or will force its will
in these integration processes. In general, from my point of view, our
meeting was extremely useful. I have invited the Secretary to come to
visit Moscow about the 20th of March to continue our talks and I think
this was a good beginning for the development of the relations between
our two countries.
QUESTION: Mr. Primakov, given your experience, particularly in the
Persian Gulf, you spoke of regional stability, how does Russia's
relationship with Iran and Iraq trying to provide nuclear technology to
Iran and reports of a major oil deal with Iraq, while the United States
is trying to isolate both countries economically - how does that promote
regional stability and friendship with the United States? Or are you
concerned with friendship with the United States in the Gulf?
FOREIGN MINISTER PRIMAKOV: We are interested in cooperating with the
United States around the world including on a regional basis. With
regard to our relations with Iran I have explained to the Secretary of
State, they do not transcend the bounds which would be dangerous for
peace and which would lead to the creation of weapons of mass
destruction and nuclear weapons. We proceed from the premise that there
are not such programs in Iran and in our dealings with Iran we want to
make sure that this will never happen in the future.
QUESTION: What about Iraq?
FOREIGN MINISTER PRIMAKOV: Please don't command, don't give me orders
QUESTION: Could you please make a comment about the confirmation that
that Russians and Americans are having good relations right now and have
you been able to overcome those differences which you discussed in your
introduction? Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER PRIMAKOV: I don't think that there is any reason to
think that the US Russia relations are in some kind of crisis. There is
simply no basis for this. Relations are developing normally and the main
thing is that both sides are convinced that the relationship should be
based on the principle of equality.
QUESTION: On reciprocal steps, would Russia be obliged to take if the
United States goes ahead with its plan to expand NATO to former Warsaw
pact countries like Poland and in particular, would you consider placing
short-range nuclear missiles in countries near the border like
FOREIGN MINISTER PRIMAKOV: First of all, I would want the answer to be
shorter than the question. I want to say that it would be desirable for
NATO not to expand. We do have differences on this. We don't conceal
this and we need to look for resolutions that would satisfy all parties
including the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.
QUESTION: Mr. Primakov, what about the internal situation in Russia,
what the Secretary of State mentioned at Harvard University there was
particularly an acute statement made.
FOREIGN MINISTER PRIMAKOV: I am familiar with the statement by
Secretary Christopher made at Harvard so I think this question really
should be addressed to the Secretary of State. The situation in Russia
is touched upon as is the one in the United States since both our
countries are now at the time of the election campaign for the
presidency. And we exchanged views on this issue. But I have just
spoken about equality and all of the questions are directed to me so
there is no real equality here.
QUESTION: Mr. Minister, in light of the gains by the Communist Party in
the recent elections and the upcoming presidential elections, U.S.
officials are concerned that the pace of economic reform in Russia will
be slowed and in Russian foreign policy there will be increased anti-
West nationalism. One, is there going to be more Government spending
soon announced or are some the reforms going to slow down, does there
need to be more public subsidies, and two, what are you going to bring
to the job that is new in the post, how are you going to establish your
mark as Foreign Minister?
FOREIGN MINISTER PRIMAKOV: First of all, I want to say with great
pleasure that the Foreign Minister is not involved in domestic economy
and there will be no movement backwards. There is no question that
democratization of our society will continue and there is no doubt that
that policy which is connected with the name of President Yeltsin will
continue. But at the same time there will be corrections made in the
policy so that the reforms not hit hard on those segments of the
population that are the worst off. In other words, the social aspects
of things will be concentrated on more than prior to that.
QUESTION: How will put your stamp on the office of Foreign Minister?
(Inaudible) What about the second part of my question?
QUESTION: Mr. Christopher, specifically, what kind of assurances did
you get from the Russia that President Yeltsin is not taking a more hard
line in foreign policy, a more hawkish line to an extent that would
disturb the United States?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: We had a long discussion but I stress, this was
a meeting in which to get acquainted. We are going to be meeting again
in a month in Moscow. We exchanged views on a wide variety of issues.
You know, when you look at a long agenda it is very interesting to see
that numerically, the areas where we cooperate, where we have common
ground, far outweigh the other areas. With respect to President Yeltsin,
this of course was not a meeting where commitments were exchanged but
the Foreign Minister made it clear that President Yeltsin was continuing
on the path of both political and economic reform and I found reassuring
his comments with respect to various aspects of the approach, although
as the Minister said, there are areas of difference and we are quite
candid about identifying those. I think it is useful to be candid
because that means that you can either try to resolve them or manage
them. That is one of the commitments we made to each other. Thank you
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