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The BBC's Nicky Schiller
"He stressed America should remain engaged with the world"
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President Bill Clinton
''We can make this new century a time of unprecedented peace''
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The BBC's Nick Bryant in Washington
"Americans often struggle to understand why they're sending troops to parts of the world they have never heard of"
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Sunday, 2 January, 2000, 01:42 GMT
Look outward, Clinton tells America

Bill and Hillary Clinton Bill and Hillary Clinton appeared live on television

US President Bill Clinton has called on the American people to remain engaged with other nations and has spoken of his hopes for global co-operation in a "new inter-connected world".

In his first live address of the new millennium, broadcast over the internet, television and radio, Mr Clinton called on the USA to look outward and be prepared to lead others into the new century.

Mr Clinton spoke out against any move towards isolationism and stressed that the nation's fate was tied to that of others around the world.

He said that inter-dependence gave the USA an unprecendented opportunity.

The speech echoed recent comments by the president against a new isolationism which he has accused the Republican-led Congress of displaying.

"We begin the 21st century well poised to be that guiding light ... never have our values - freedom, democracy and opportunity - been more ascendant in the world," he said.

Good start

Later in the day, President Clinton told Russia's acting president Vladimir Putin that US-Russia relations under Putin's leadership were "off to a good start", the White House said.

Three Clintons Three The Clintons watch the Washington fireworks with daughter Chelsea
White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said President Clinton "reaffirmed his commitment to the partnership between the United States and Russia'' during a 10-minute telephone conversation.

The two leaders acknowledged differences over Russia's military offensive in Chechnya and other issues, but Mr Clinton said they also had much in common.

Peace and prosperity

President Clinton and the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, made their New Year address after an all-night White House millennium party.

Earlier the couple had presided over a fiesta of fireworks at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

President Clinton said US goals should include promoting prosperity among trade partners, secure democracies, and co-operation against terrorism and environmental destruction.

Never have our values been more ascendant in the world
President Bill Clinton
"We can make this new century a time of unprecedented peace, freedom and prosperity for our people and for all and for all the citizens of the world," he added.

"What is perhaps most remarkable about last night's celebration is the way it was shared all around the world.

"Millions of Americans and billions of others across the globe watched on television as midnight broke, first in Asia, then in Europe, then Africa, South America, finally here in North America."

Such a universal celebration would have been inconceivable a century go, and illustrated global connections that were ''were the key to understanding where we're going and what we must do in the new millennium," President Clinton said.

Mrs Clinton, who is running for a US Senate seat in New York state, addressed social issues.

America, she said, should set an example for other countries by raising the economic lot of its poor, improving education and promoting diversity.

"If we can build one America and make our diversity our greatest strength then perhaps other nations will see the advantage of working to overcome their own ethnic and religious tensions," Mrs Clinton added.

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See also:
14 Oct 99 |  Americas
Clinton slams Senate 'isolationism'
15 Oct 99 |  Americas
Clinton's three little words

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