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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With King Hussein of Jordan

January 21, 1994


Q. Mr. President, with the key reformers out of the Russian Government, does that mean that radical reform is over in Russia?

The President. I wouldn't go that far. Already Russia has privatized more rapidly than any of the other former Communist countries. They have a much higher rate of privatization than any of the other countries. But what we're concerned about obviously is whether they will be able to manage their inflation problem. And I think the Secretary of the Treasury said it the best: We're going to support democracy, and we're going to support the fact that Russia respects its relationships with other nations, and those are fundamental to our interest. How much economic help they can get from the international community will be directly related to what kinds of reforms they decide to undertake. And that I think is the best connection. They'll have to make those decisions for themselves.

Q. Mr. President, the reformers who were pushed out were in favor of curbing inflation by cutting subsidies. The people who are staying on are the people who fear unemployment. Which is a bigger threat, and do you favor cutting subsidies or easing the cuts?

The President. As I said, that's a decision they'll have to make. But what we offered to do and what we still offer to do is to try to help set up the sort of job training and unemployment and other systems, support systems, that any market economy has to have. You can't blame them for being concerned about the consequences of going to a market economy if they're not able to cope with them. And they need it, and so do all the other countries. And we're prepared to help do what we can. But they'll have to chart their course, and then we'll be there to try to be supportive.

Middle East Peace Process

Q. Your Majesty, after the signing of the accords, the economic accords between the PLO and the Jordanians and other agreements, how do you see the coordination continuing, and when do you expect to meet with Mr. Yasser Arafat? And how do you see the peace process going in the next peace round, sir?

King Hussein. I believe that—[inaudible]— very, very well and recent developments of— [inaudible]—encouraging. As far as coordinating the Palestinian—[inaudible]. And it's all part of the—[inaudible]—everyone, I believe is, the majority of the people are convinced that this is the time and that you must move rapidly to— [inaudible]. But we're working on our agenda and all the items there, and I hope that the crowning achievement will be a peace treaty.

NOTE: The exchange began at 11:15 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With King Hussein of Jordan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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