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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President Vladimir Putin of Russia in New York City

September 06, 2000

Russia-U.S. Relations

Q. Have you any expectations?

President Putin. Only positive expectations.

President Clinton. I agree with that. This is just part of our ongoing, regular consultation. We're going to have another chance to meet in Asia in a couple of months, and we have a lot of things to talk about. But it's part of our continuing effort to strengthen our relationships and to help our people.

[At this point, a question was asked and answered in Russian, and no translation was provided.]

President Clinton. Thank you. Let me just say one thing about the ABM issue. We have worked together on nuclear issues very closely for virtually the whole time I've been in office and, actually, for quite a long time before that, before I became President. The decision that I made last week on our missile defense will create an opportunity for President Putin and the next American President to reach a common position. And I hope they can, because I think it's very important for the future that we continue to work together.

When we work together, we can destroy thousands of tons of nuclear materials and lots of nuclear weapons and work together in the Balkans for peace. I mean, we can get a lot of things done if we work together. So I hope that the decision that I made will enable my successor and President Putin to resolve this issue and to continue working together on all the arms control issues.

Middle East Peace Process

Q. Mr. President, the deadline set by Israel and the Palestinians is a week from today. Do you have any reason to believe that there might be something worked out by this time, or would you like the parties to discard the deadline?

President Clinton. Well, I haven't met with them yet, but I think that—I think we can work through that if there's a sense of progress— and one of the things I hope I have a chance to talk to President Putin about—but I think the main thing they have to decide is whether there is going to be an agreement within what is the real calendar, which is the calendar that is ticking in the Middle East against the political realities in Israel as well as for the Palestinians. There's a limit to how long they have, and it's not very much longer.

NOTE: The exchange began at 11:25 a.m. at the Waldorf-Astoria. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President Vladimir Putin of Russia in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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