President Yeltsin. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll tell you the main thing now. The first official visit paid by the President of the United States of America Clinton to Russia has been very fruitful. It couldn’t have been otherwise because we know one another only too well and we needed a great job to do and two great hopes were placed on us by our nations.
This visit is based on today’s realities, and at the same time, it projected itself into the future as regards the difficult past. We and the President of the United States wrapped it up solidly back in Vancouver. Work in Moscow was very intense to obtain great results. The concrete agreements made are crucial to Russia and the United States and to the entire world.
The talks were held at a history-making time for both countries. Old habits and stereotypes fade away. We are searching for new things in Russia and in America. I must say that we’re in the thick of the Russian-American joint revolution.
During the free democratic elections, the Russians approved the new constitution, and for the first time, with no coercion, they elected their own Parliament. I don’t agree with those who believe that the first pancake did not turn out right. If you take a better look at individual names and popular slogans, you will see that the people chose a better way of life, legality and predictability.
This is a lesson for all of us to learn. Yet, in order not to repeat past mistakes, I made it perfectly clear to the U.S. President that we would expand the scope of reforms, focusing more on the social dimension. I am confident that this country will have a greater stability and a durable social peace.
Bill Clinton demonstrated he has a fine sense of our particular situation. Indeed, the Americans also survived a lot, and they continue to survive a lot. We may count on their full support for the reforms implemented by the Russian President, government, and reformists in the new Parliament.
I discussed problems concerning our economy and positive changes that happened, and I referred to elements of stabilization. And I would like to underscore that what we need now is not humanitarian aid but rather full-scale cooperation with due regard for the period of transition the young market economy in Russia is going through now.
Specifically, along with the Tokyo package and the Clinton package and Vancouver, the most tangible support for Russia would be the opening of the American market for our exports, whether raw materials or equipment. And I’m very much satisfied that today we finally, after 2 years of discussions, we signed an agreement on uranium. All the cold war restrictions should be lifted, like the Jackson-Vanik amendment. We need to remove purist barriers that were put up under the excuse of Russian dumping crisis. As regards uranium, I think it is rather a fear of competition with more advanced technologies and cheaper materials.
Since Vancouver, Bill Clinton has done a lot, keeping his promise to remove the economic bad things of the cold war. Discriminating restrictions were struck off from the American domestic legislation; I mean the bulk of those. No more high custom duties are levied on about 5,000 Russian products.
The U.S. President has done a great job of integrating Russia into international financial and economic organizations. I believe that it won’t take much time for the Group of Seven to turn into a Group of Eight. During our negotiations, the Russian-American relations have reached a point where they became a mature strategic global partnership along all the lines. It is based on a commonly held view of new prospects and fresh problems. We are both confident that today’s world should be democratic, open, and integrated.
As regards equality, mutual benefits, regard for one another’s interests, no more references should be made to that because those are implied. This basic dimension of our partnership is formalized in the Moscow Declaration we signed. It demonstrates and consolidates the historic shift in the Russian-American relations in Eurasia and in the entire world.
Our interaction is now freshly meaningful, and it is geared toward a better strategic stability and security. Thanks to that, over a few recent months the world and our countries avoided quite a few traps and miscalculations. There was some progress made: better cooperation in the areas of security and disarmament, peacekeeping, and promotion of economic transparency.
The landmark step that we have finally made in Moscow is the package of agreements leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine. I believe that this is a history-making document that was signed today by the three Presidents. Everybody benefits from it and, in the first place, the Ukrainian people.
The agreements reached at our three-party summit will save money, remove differences, and set a good example for other countries to follow. They are consolidated by the Russian-American declaration concerning the consolidation of all mass destruction weapon nonproliferation regimes. And nonproliferation, as you know, is being called into question now, or is running a very serious test of strength.
The U.S. President gave me fresh information about the Partnership For Peace concept that was approved in Brussels. This idea comes from the NATO, but there is some basic element of the Russian-American cooperation in it. This concept is a very important step toward building a security system from Vancouver to Vladivostok that excludes the emergence of new demarcation lines or areas of unequal security. We believe that this idea may prove just one of the scenarios for building a new Europe. Just one of those will well impart very specific cooperation in this dimension of cooperation, including the military area. Of course, we will keep track of other collective security structures in Europe, including such time-tested institutions like the United Nations and the CSCE.
I provided very detailed information to President Clinton about the integration of processes that go on in the former Soviet Union, including our latest meetings, summit meetings within the framework of the CIS. You shouldn’t be fearful of some neoimperial ambitions. Russia is only interested in stability, and it takes very honest mediation efforts to extinguish the hotbeds of conflicts along its new borders.
We are ready to expand our cooperation and coordinate our action with the United Nations, CSCE, and the entire international community. It is too bad that the international community has yet to show great enthusiasm. It responds but frugally to our concrete proposals concerning either Abkhazia or Nagorno-Karabakh or Tajikistan. I believe that we will have a greater understanding with the United States of this very crucial issue.
I raised the issue of human rights violations and national minorities, especially in the Baltics. No double standards should be allowed here, whether it happens in Haiti or in the Baltics. As a result, we adopted a very forceful declaration on securing human rights. And the President confirmed that he will take appropriate steps in making contact with the Baltics so that no more discrimination would be allowed there against the Russian-speaking population there.
I don’t want to be too optimistic now. This does not reflect the nature of our sincere and businesslike conversations. We’ve had differences, and we’ll continue to have some differences in the future. But what is crucial here is looking for an understanding that will turn into a specific policy.
This is our flight plan for the Russian-American partnership that will substitute the flight plan for strategic missiles that would not be targeted against one another.
Thank you very much.
Now, Mr. Clinton.
President Clinton. Thank you very much.
Nine months ago President Yeltsin and I met in Vancouver, and there we laid the foundation for a new partnership between the United States and Russia, a partnership based on mutual respect. We have just concluded an excellent and very productive summit meeting in which we took important steps to strengthen that partnership. I want to thank President Yeltsin and his entire team for hosting us and for making these days so productive.
Throughout our discussions, I reaffirmed the strong support of the United States for Russia’s commitment to democracy and transition to a market economy. I informed President Yeltsin that the United States is committed to specific projects, 100 percent of the $1.6 billion of assistance that I announced in Vancouver, and that we have actually expended about 70 percent of the funds. The President and I also discussed the additional $2.5 billion in assistance for Russia and the other newly independent states that my administration proposed in Tokyo in April and which Congress fully funded this September.
The President gave me strong assurances of his intention to continue the reform process. He and I discussed a number of ways in which the United States and the international community can assist in the promotion of reform and at the same time assist Russia in cushioning the social hardships which reform has brought to many Russians.
As a concrete expression of our commitment to reform, the United States is opening the doors this week to the Russian Small Enterprise Fund and has established a new fund for large enterprises to promote private-sector development here. That latter fund will be chaired by the former Secretary of the Treasury, Michael Blumenthal.
We also signed a contract to purchase $12 billion of highly enriched uranium over the next 20 years. And I have asked the Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown, to lead a very high level Presidential trade mission to Russia in March, including leading CEO’s who would be in a position to promote both trade and investment here.
We issued today also a joint statement on human rights in which we express our common resolve to combat discrimination and all forms of intolerance including anti-Semitism. Today I also had an opportunity to describe further the results of the successful NATO summit this week. And President Yeltsin assured me, as you just heard, of Russia’s intention to be a full and active participant in the Partnership For Peace.
We took several historic steps to ensure that the fear of nuclear confrontation will remain a relic of the past. As you know, Presidents Yeltsin and Kravchuk and I signed an agreement that commits Ukraine to eliminate over 1,500 nuclear warheads. All the most modern and deadly missiles in Ukraine, the SS-24’s, will have their warheads removed within 10 months. Second, President Yeltsin and I agreed that as of May 30th, the nuclear missiles of Russia and the United States will no longer be targeted against any country. And third, we signed an agreement to work closely together in regions where proliferation risks are greatest, including the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East.
We also agreed that the sovereignty and independence of Russia’s neighbors must be respected. In that respect, I expressed my strong hope that Russia’s negotiations with Estonia and Latvia will lead to the withdrawal of troops in early 1994. And I did agree, as President Yeltsin said, to press strongly the proposition that the Russian-speaking people in those republics must be respected.
Let me close by noting that President Yeltsin and I have agreed to meet in Naples at the G-7 summit in July, and I am pleased that he has accepted my invitation to make a state visit to the United States this fall. I look forward to those meetings.
I came to Europe with the hope of beginning to build a new security rooted in common commitments to democracy and free economics and mutual respect for security and territorial borders. I came with a dream that at the end of the cold war we might all be able to work together to have a Europe that is integrated, politically, economically, and in terms of security; a Europe that, for the first time since the establishment of nation states, would not be divided by present conflict or lingering animosities.
I now believe we have a better chance to create that kind of new security, a security in which great nations will be able to treat each other as genuine partners, chart their own futures without being dictated to by others, a future in which I believe greatness will be defined fundamentally by our capacity to enable the men and women and the children who live within our borders to live up to the fullest of their capacities.
I thank President Yeltsin for his partnership in that endeavor, and I assure you we will continue to work as hard as we can toward that common vision.
President Yeltsin. Thank you, Mr. President.
Due to the protocol, we have very restricted opportunities to take questions.
Q. Good afternoon. You have mentioned frequently that you would consider the outcome of the election campaign that happened on December 12th in your domestic policies. Do you intend to correct your foreign policy, and in particular your policy toward the relations with the United States?
President Yeltsin. I believe that we have very stable and steady relations with the United States that are well checked and based on partnership. But of course, some adjustments will be made, especially with respect to the social sphere. We believe that in contrast with the Vancouver meeting, we will not count on humanitarian aid and direct social aid. This is our business to attend to.
We are requesting the U.S. side to open the doors of the American market, to have the restrictions lifted to help us with our debts, to show support for our reform in terms of conversion of our defense-related industries, and so on. We don’t need direct social aid because such aid is also needed by the United States people, by the American people. It wouldn’t be serious. You want to relieve the pressure of unemployment in Russia without creating jobs for your own Americans back in your country. We believe this is our business to attend to. And out of the forms of support, the rescheduling of the debts, structural changes in our national economy, we will look for social guarantees for our own workers, so that we would reduce impoverishment or the poverty level that exists today in this country.
Q. Do you mean that you are going to retreat a bit from shock therapy and go a little slower in order to improve the lives of—[inaudible]?
President Yeltsin. No. In terms of reform, we will take resolute action and will continue to press ahead. And in this regard, the U.S. President is in agreement to support such a policy.
President Clinton. If I could respond briefly to both of the last two questions, from my perspective. I commend President Yeltsin for his commitment to continuing the path of economic reform. If you look at 1993 as compared with 1992, if you look at how much the deficit was reduced as a percentage of annual income, if you look at how much inflation was brought down, if you look at how much the stabilization of the currency was improved, I think that the continued work toward hooking the Russian economy into the global economic system based on markets is a very sound thing.
We had great, long talks about what could be done and what kind of assistance the United States and others could provide to recognize that there are certain dislocations which come from these changes, so that the people of Russia will know that there is an effort being made to deal with those problems. But I also have to tell you that I believe that the people will begin to benefit in ways that they could not see perhaps last year, in the coming year when we have more trade and more investment. And as people around the world and in the United States, in particular, see that the President is serious about this, I think the benefits will begin to flow.
That, plus constructing the kind of social support system in job retraining, unemployment, all of those things that just have to be put together and are not easy to put together when you don’t have one, I think these things will help a lot.
The other point I’d like to make to you, sir, is that from my point of view, President Yeltsin has been unfairly criticized in some quarters for his relationship with the United States. The implication that somehow we have tried to direct the course of Russian policy is just not accurate and not true. The people of Russia have to define their own future. All I have tried to do is to say that as long as we share the same values and the same vision, as long as we share a dream of political freedom and economic freedom and respect for our neighbors, I want to be an equal partner, because I believe this is a very great nation and that the world, the whole world, and particularly Europe has a real interest in seeing Russia succeed, in seeing this reform movement succeed.
So I think our relationships in that sense have been quite correct all along, and some have sought to mischaracterize them in a way that I think is not accurate. I come here as a friend and a partner, not—we have our problems at home, too—every country does. The United States has no interest in charting Russia’s future; that’s for Russia to do. But we can be partners, and we should be.
Q. My question—and I refer it to both Presidents—during the Brussels visit, the Russian party requested the United States and NATO to make a greater influence on Ukraine concerning strategic arms. Have your expectations come true, given the agreements you’ve signed in Moscow?
President Yeltsin. Our expectations came perfectly true, promptly. We’ve signed an agreement with Ukraine to eliminate all of Ukraine’s nuclear weapons. Their nuclear weapons will be shipped to Russia for destruction. And of course, with respect to uranium, we need to provide some compensation. Instead of weapons-grade uranium, we need to provide them with fuel-grade uranium. And we are in agreement.
We will continue to process—with U.S. assistance—we will continue to process weapons-grade uranium into fuel uranium. And since we’ve signed an agreement on uranium today, it appears to me that today our agreement with—the three-party agreement with Ukraine signed by the three Presidents is a history-making decision. And I believe that there is a great role that has been played by Russia and the United States and personally by the U.S. President Bill Clinton.
President Clinton. I am fully satisfied with the agreement. I want to compliment again President Kravchuk for seeing what I believe are the real security interests of his country. I think his country is stronger for signing this agreement. It will certainly be more economically powerful in the years to come as more investors are more interested in supporting the decision to be non-nuclear.
And I want to support and compliment President Yeltsin. The United States, I believe, played a very valuable role in this, but it was President Yeltsin’s suggestion to me that we set up this trilateral process. I have enjoyed working in it. I worked hard on this. Vice President Gore worked hard on this, and of course, the rest of our team did. And I assure you that I intend to maintain an intense personal involvement in this whole area.
I think, by the way, a strong and an independent Ukraine is critical to this whole development of an integrated Europe that we are working on in our partnership here.
Q. A question for both Presidents. President Yeltsin, you have made a commitment today and President Clinton has agreed and has urged you to continue the commitment to the economic reforms. It will take a while, though, to create the institutions that can cushion the effects. The recent elections have shown that only 15 percent of the people elected support that policy. How can that be sustained politically given the opposition you’re going to face in the Parliament?
And President Clinton, without direct aid, what really can the international institutions do to make this more viable for President Yeltsin?
President Yeltsin. Firstly, I disagree with your statistics—15 percent of the Russians support the reforms. This is not the case. This is untrue. You should take a look at the results of the voting for the constitution. The constitution is support for the reforms. I’m not talking about individual people or voting for individual parties or blocs of parties. They voted for the constitution that will decide the future of Russia and the future of Russia reforms. This is where the Russians made their choice. And they number about 60 percent, 60.
Now, with respect to support from international institutions, we discussed this topic. Incidentally, we’ve discussed about 30 issues, or even more than that, both domestic Russian issues and domestic U.S. issues, bilateral relations, international relations, and so on and so forth, security issues. There was a large host of such issues that were discussed.
I believe that the fact that we approved the Tokyo package and the fact that that is too bad that the Group of Seven is not very happy or is very slow in implementing that decision, that is bad. Bill Clinton kept his promise he made in Vancouver. The first package worth $1.6 billion was paid; the second package, worth about the same amount of money, to be approved by the Congress in 1994 and 1995, will be paid. And as regards Group of Seven commitments, or the big seven commitments, I think the case is much more difficult here. The decision was made, but they’re very slow in implementing that decision. And that saddens my friend, Bill Clinton.
President Clinton. Let me respond to your question, because I think it’s important to talk about what we are doing here. First of all, getting the deal on uranium is a big thing. That guarantees a steady stream of commercial—it’s a business deal, but it will guarantee some money flowing in here every year for a long time.
Now, in addition to that, I have asked in my ’95 budget for $900 million in aid. And if you take that plus the $2.5 billion in this second package for the entire republics of the former Soviet Union, but most of it will come here to Russia, there will be more than $1 billion in aid in each of the next 2 years.
In addition to that, we have reached agreement with the G-7 countries to do a number of other things which I think will help a lot. We are opening an office here headed by an American—that’s a G-7 office—to make sure that all of the commitments are followed through on. And it’s open now this week. We are going to work with trying to get funds, which I’m confident we can, to Russia’s energy customers so that they can pay their bills for the energy that Russia is providing them. That’s a business deal, but it will give them a significant amount of money.
We have offered technical assistance, which is all President Yeltsin has asked for, in trying to help work through these social services issues—how do you set up the training programs and other support programs to cushion the dislocation? We are beginning this week again under the leadership of Jerry Corrigan to fund the Small Business Development Fund, and we’re setting up this large business fund.
Let me say one final thing. The willingness of President Yeltsin to continue on the path of economic reform, I think, will be met positively by the international financial institutions in a reasonable way. And I think that that can free up billions of dollars of assistance in the next several months for continued reinvestment. And again, when Ron Brown comes here in March, I think you will see a significant increase in trade and investment from the United States.
So we are going to be heavily involved in this in ways that I believe will begin to affect the ordinary Russian people in a positive way. The problem is that there’s always a time lag between taking these tough decisions and when somebody can feel it in their own lives. And that’s what I was trying to communicate when I was walking the street yesterday here in Moscow, shaking hands with people and talking to them and listening to them. We have to, all of us who care very much about the greatness and the potential of this country and who want a genuine partnership, have to be sensitive to that. But I believe that these initiatives will begin to be felt in the lives of average Russian working people. And I think they will, in the aggregate, they will be quite significant over the next couple of years.
Q. Given the composition of the new Parliament in Russia, do you believe that you will have some problem having the Parliament to ratify our agreement with some Western partners—maybe foreign policies will get tougher as approved by the Parliament? Do you believe that you as the President of this country are in some difficulty in dealing with your foreign partners?
President Yeltsin. I don’t believe that this is the sort of Parliament that we have. I believe our Parliament is smarter, more intellectual, more experienced. The upper Chamber of the Parliament, I believe, will pursue policies shared by the President and by the Government, and state Duma, the lower Chamber, will get to that with time. They will realize that such major international agreements and treaties may not be delayed in terms of ratification; I mean agreements like the one we concluded on the destruction of chemical weapons and such like.
I don’t believe they will do that. Otherwise they would show no respect for their own people. But I believe that there are Members of Parliament, and I mentioned that in my message, should be mindful of the fact that they are representatives of the people and the people told them how to behave in the Parliament. They should have a fine political sense. Of course, our Parliament is very young, but I’m still confident that the Parliament will proceed constructively.
Q. President Clinton, I wondered, what are your impressions after your firsthand experience here in Moscow? What is your assessment of the threat that the ultranationalist movement poses to the movement toward democracy?
President Clinton. Well, those who are in the Parliament are, after all, the product of democracy. And I think that there are two separate things here. I think we have to respect the democratic process. And in every democratic process, no one is satisfied with the outcome of all elections. I can testify to that. So in that sense, I don’t think they present a threat to the democratic process.
Now, I think what is happening here is that Russia, which is and has been a very great country for a very long time, is doing what countries are required to do from time to time, they’re having to redefine what greatness means, establish a vision for the future. And when times are difficult, and the Russian people have been through some difficult times, there are those, always, in every age in time, who can generate some support by defining greatness in terms of the past. But in the end, the only people who really make it work are those who define greatness in terms of the future. And that’s why I think the reform movement in the end will prevail. Because if you look at the nature of the global economy, if you look at the things that are happening that really move and change people’s lives, I think history is on the side of the reformers.
And I also believe what will happen is—keep in mind you’re going to have some interesting debates in this Duma. I wish I could—I enjoy watching the news every night. It’s nice to be in a place where some other President’s having trouble with his Parliament instead of me. [Laughter] President Yeltsin made a valuable point here: When these issues begin to be debated and when people move from the level of campaign rhetoric, which is always highly abstract, to the real problems of real people, you also may see a new consensus developing. And the only thing I would say to all of the people who are in this newly elected Duma is that you have an enormous opportunity and a responsibility. You are the product of the first genuinely democratic, constitutionally provided Parliament in the history of your country, and you ought to be willing to just listen and learn and grow and deal with the issues.
I don’t think the United States or anybody else should overreact to this. These folks are just getting started on what will be a great and exciting journey. And I think we ought to wish them well and see what happens.
President Yeltsin. Due to the protocol commitments we have to limit the time of our press conference. Just one more question on the Russian and U.S. side.
Partnership For Peace and NATO
Q. I would like to get a more specific sense of your view, Mr. Clinton and Boris Nikolayevich. I’m talking about prospective admission of other states to NATO, and I am referring to states there on the borders of Russia. Do you believe that Russia will join NATO sometime in the future and on what conditions?
President Yeltsin. I believe that the initiative displayed by U.S. President Bill Clinton and by some European politicians, I mean in terms of not admitting one country by one to NATO, but rather to declare them Partners For Peace and security, provides a very good formula. Because we need to draw up one more line here because if you divide us in the black and the white, it is no good.
On the other hand, the time will come when Russia will be integrated and all the others will be integrated, but they will be integrated with one another in just one package, as they say. And this will bring security to everybody. But if you sort of dismember us, I mean, accepting us or admitting us one by one is no good. I’m against that—opposed. That is why I support the initiative shown by the U.S. President with respect to the Partnership For Peace.
President Clinton. The whole idea behind the Partnership For Peace was to develop a post-cold-war mechanism in which countries that shared the same commitments, in this case, the commitment to respect the territorial borders of their neighbors, a commitment to civilian control over the military, a commitment to joint planning and training and military exercises, that these countries could work together and could work toward eventual NATO membership if they wish it and if that is the direction that seems best for security in the post-cold-war world. That is, the NATO membership plainly contemplated an expansion.
But this Partnership For Peace is a real thing now. It is real now. We invited all the republics of the former Soviet Union, all the Warsaw Pact nations, and the other non-NATO members of Europe to be part of the Partnership For Peace. All were invited. All were told that this can also lead to eventual membership in NATO, but that our objective is to create an undivided and united Europe, united around political freedom, economic freedom, military cooperation, and respect for one another’s borders, for the first time in the history of the nation state. It has never happened before.
So the short answer to your question is yes, this could happen. And I think we share that vision. And I think that we have a particular responsibility, the two of us, to try to work toward that vision.
Press Secretary Myers. This will be the last question.
Q. President Clinton, did you discuss the subject of Bosnia? What was the nature of your discussions? And does President Yeltsin agree with the intention expressed at the NATO meetings of launching air strikes if the situation does not improve in Sarajevo, or in all of Bosnia, really?
President Clinton. First of all, since I asked the NATO people, my colleagues in NATO, to debate this issue with great precision, let me try to characterize with great precision what it is they voted to do.
They voted to reaffirm the position that air strikes should be considered if Sarajevo is shelled to the point of, in effect, being threatened or strangled so that the U.N. mission could not proceed. That is, the United Nations mission in Bosnia cannot succeed unless Sarajevo is there as a place where there are hospitals, a place where we can get humanitarian aid, and where we can get medicine and things like that in and out of. They voted to ask the military commanders to examine whether or not anything could be done with air power or any other military resources to guarantee the transfer of troops, the exchange of troops in Srebrenica, and the opening of the air strip at Tuzla, again, for humanitarian purposes.
I want to emphasize that because there is a lot of confusion here. None of the things in the NATO resolution are designed necessarily to bring a peace agreement to Bosnia. They are all designed to further the United Nations mission in Bosnia, which is to try to keep as many people alive as possible until the parties will make peace.
I think I should let President Yeltsin speak for himself on what he thinks of what NATO did on Bosnia. We’ve all had our differences over Bosnia, and everybody’s got a different idea about it. What we did talk about last night was whether there was anything else either of us could do or whether there was anything we could do together to try to bring the conflict to an end. I mean, that’s what we want. We want those people to stop killing each other and make a reasonable peace in which they can all live and start raising their children and going back to a normal life again.
We reached no conclusive results, but we had a pretty honest conversation, and a few things were said that I think we might be able to follow up on. Anything I were to say—excuse me—anything I might say with greater specificity would probably only confuse things and raise false hopes. This is a real thicket. But we had what I thought was an honest, good conversation about the larger issue, which is, is there anything else anybody from outside can do to help make peace?
But I think it’s very important, because this air strike thing has become sort of a psychological litmus test. What NATO did was to list three possible areas of military action, all designed to further the U.N. mission, none of them pretending to ultimately settle the conflict. The NATO leaders said over and over and over again, ultimately, the parties will have to willingly agree to a peace.
So what I discussed with President Yeltsin was whether there was anything we can do to help bring peace. We’ve reached no conclusive results, but we had the basis for continuing discussions about it.
President Yeltsin. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. The news conference is over.
Thank you very much.
President Clinton. He said he agreed with my characterization of our conversation. [Laughter]