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U.S. Department of State
96/06/17 Press Conference on Russian Elections & Other Issues
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release June 17, 1996
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
RUSSIAN ELECTION AND OTHER ISSUES
June 17, 1996
MR. BURNS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the State
Department. The Secretary of State has a statement to make on the
Russian elections and other foreign policy issues. Following that, he
has got time to take three or four of your questions.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Good afternoon. As you all know, there have
been a number of very important developments in the field of foreign
policy in just the last few hours and days. I want to comment on each
of them, beginning with the Russian elections.
Yesterday's Presidential election was a significant milestone for the
Russian people. Over 85 million Russians cast ballots, their first
chance ever to choose the leader of their country.
Preliminary indications are that the process went quite smoothly. The
observers who were there are offering comments to that effect. Of
course, we'll be receiving further comments from the monitors.
Our policy toward Russia is deeply rooted in American interests. We
have engaged with the Russian Government intensively to pursue our
security interests, to pursue foreign policy cooperation -- with
significant benefits to the United States, to Russia, and to the world.
We also, of course, want to see democracy take root because that will
benefit the Russian people and the American people as well.
Our approach to the runoff will be the same as our approach to the first
round. We will continue to stress our support for the democratic
process and for political and economic reform.
Our expectation is that all parties will abide by the eventual outcome.
We will remain determined to pursue American interests as well as we
watch the situation, whatever the result is of the election.
Let me now comment briefly on the situation regarding China. We spent
an enormous effort in strengthening our relationship with China over the
last several months and years because that relationship has a profound
effect on the security and prosperity of the United States and of our
Several hours ago, Acting USTR Representative Charlene Barshefsky
announced in Beijing that we have reached agreement with China on the
implementation of key provisions of the February 1995 agreement on the
enforcement of intellectual property rights.
This is a sound and effective agreement. It will bring fundamental
change to the enforcement of intellectual property rights in China. The
agreement sets out a number of necessary and important action that China
is taking in four specific areas.
First, on factory closures -- China has shut down 15 illegal compact
disk factories and prohibited the establishment of any new CD plants.
On enforcement -- China has announced a sustained crackdown on illegal
producers, distributors, and transporters.
On border enforcement -- Chinese Custom officials have agreed to new
efforts against the export of pirated products, and they will stop the
import of unauthorized CD production equipment.
Finally, on market access -- the agreement will create new opportunities
for American audiovisual and software companies in China's very rapidly
The success of the intensive talks over the last several weeks, and
especially this weekend, will help protect the jobs of American workers;
it will help to open new opportunities for American companies, and it
will promote the integration of China into the global economy.
Let me conclude with some brief comments on the Middle East. Containing
the threat proposed by Iraq to peace and stability in that region has
been a critical priority for our Administration from the day that we
Saddam Hussein continues to defy United Nations Security Council
resolutions regarding his country. In recent days, we've seen once
again a disturbing pattern of interference by Iraq with the inspection
mission of the U.N. Special Commission led by Chairman Ekeus.
Today, I want to underscore what the Security Council declared on
The denial of access to UNSCOM constitutes a flagrant violation of
existing Resolutions 687, 707, and 715.
UNSCOM, we believe, must receive immediate and unrestricted access to
Iraqi facilities. Under the circumstances, we can accept no less.
Finally, let me just mention that I spoke to Israeli Prime Minister-
elect Netanyahu last Friday. As you know, he is completing the task of
forming his government, although it is not finally complete yet. I look
forward to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his team in the
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on President Yeltsin, should he sustain his
lead and win the runoff, I wondered about U.S. foreign policy interests.
You've have a pretty good relationship, this Administration has, on
security interests such as keeping nukes under control, help in Bosnia,
help on the Test-Ban Treaty.
Would you anticipate the same kind of Yeltsin approach to the United
States? There's a suggestion that he would become more of a
nationalist; that somehow out of this election he would adopt, you know,
a more inward approach. I wondered what you thought of all that?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Barry, that question has too many hypotheticals
buried in it for me to answer today. There will be another round of
elections in two or three weeks. We don't want to speculate on the
outcome of that election, and we don't want to speculate on what the
policies of whoever wins that election will be.
What I can say is that United States interests are enduring. We have an
interest in military and nuclear cooperation, which has accomplished so
much for our two countries by way of helping to rid the world of the
threat of nuclear weapons.
Second, we'll have a continuing strong interest in cooperation in the
field of foreign policy, where once again our work together has
accomplished a great deal -- as it is now, for example -- in working
together on a Comprehensive Test-Ban.
And, finally, we will continue to pursue our interests in internal
reform within Russia.
Those are the interests we'll be pursuing, and we'll be pursuing them
whatever the outcome of the election.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, are you now prepared to make a judgment about
the willingness and ability of the Netanyahu Government to pursue peace,
particularly since the Prime Minister-designate over the weekend
stipulated some principles, including his refusal to cede the Golan
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Carol, the Prime Minister has not yet put
together his government. We've not had an opportunity to discuss with
him the policies he'll be following. Until we have that opportunity, I
think it would be much premature for us to comment on any of his
particular policy positions.
We have seen continuing references to his desire to pursue the peace
process, and we look forward to an opportunity to discuss with him the
guidelines that he's laid down [and] his overall approach to the peace
process. Until we do so, I think it would be quite unwise and premature
for me to comment.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, given the news out of Beijing, do you have any
plans to go to Beijing before the end of the year? I know you'll be
seeing the Chinese Foreign Minister at an ASEAN meeting, but do you have
any plans to go to Beijing?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Charlie, I do not have any plans. One of the
things that I look forward to doing when I see Foreign Minister Qian
Qichen at the ASEAN meeting -- I believe it's in Indonesia this year --
is to talk to him about the visits that I proposed and discussed, both
the visits at my level and also at higher levels that I have referred to
in the speech I made in New York. That's an initiative that I want to
pursue, and I look forward to discussing that with him in the next month
in Jakarta, I believe.
MR. BURNS: The final question to Mr. Erlanger.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, have you or any member of the government, so
far as you know, had a conversation with Mr. Yeltsin today, and does
this stance of neutrality mean -- if not -- that you will not be
speaking to him between rounds unless there's some urgent foreign policy
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: As far as I know -- and I think I would know --
we have not talked to Mr. Yeltsin today. I imagine he has his hands
rather full. As the President said, he looks forward to talking with
Mr. Yeltsin when he has an opportunity in the next few days. We
continue to have matters to discuss with the Russian Government,
including the upcoming meeting in Lyon and the plans for our getting
together there. We've not contacted him today, but as the President
said, I think we'll be doing so in the relatively near future.
Thanks very much.
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