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The BBC's Robert Parsons
"The key issue is Washington's plan for a missile defence screen"
 real 28k

Konstantin Kosachev, member of Russian Parliament
"I don't think this is a fair prize for Mr Clinton"
 real 28k

Charles Grant, Centre for European Reform
"There's always been trouble between the EU and the US"
 real 28k

Friday, 2 June, 2000, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
Clinton urges European unity
Clinton receives Charlemagne Prize
President Clinton, honoured for services to Europe
President Clinton has urged European leaders to build links with the countries of the former Yugoslavia and Russia in order to guarantee a stronger, more peaceful continent.

Mr Clinton was speaking in the German city of Aachen, after receiving the prestigious Charlemagne Prize, in recognition of services to European peace and unity.

We do not yet know if Russia's hard-won democratic freedoms will endure

Bill Clinton
Mr Clinton, the first United States president to receive the prize, used the occasion to deliver a foreign policy speech concentrating on the Balkans and Russia.

He goes on to Moscow to meet President Putin on Saturday.

Unfinished business

Clinton and Schroeder
But they disagree about defence

Mr Clinton said the whole world should take notice of how Europeans had buried their differences to commit themselves to forming a united Europe.

"We must work to build a partnership with Russia," he said.

"We do not yet know if Russia's hard-won democratic freedoms will endure."

It is in the sense of the alliance that (the missile programme) be treated in a spirit of partnership

German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Mr Clinton said a major piece of unfinished business was to make south-east Europe fully part of this united Europe.

"Our goal must be to de-balkanise the Balkans", he said, so that peace there endures.

Missile disagreement

Mr Clinton's visit to Germany has so far been dominated by public disagreement over US plans for a new anti-ballistic missile defence system.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder used the award ceremony to urge dialogue again between the US and Europe on the plans.

Clinton laughing after receiving award
Clinton: Loyal to Europe even after the Cold War

"As this issue could have effects well beyond the US, it is in the sense of the alliance that it be treated in a spirit of partnership," Mr Schroeder said.

The US missile programme, dubbed the new Star Wars, is expected to be a key topic of discussion when Mr Clinton visits Moscow.

Peace and war

The award citation says that Mr Clinton is being honoured particularly for US military efforts to preserve the rule of law in the Balkans.

The Charlemagne Prize
Named after the 8th Century emperor who ruled most of Europe
Established in 1949 by a German businessman
Awarded for services to Europe
US recipients include Henry Kissinger and George Marshall
European recipients include Winston Churchill and Vaclav Havel

US-led Nato air attacks in Bosnia in 1995 and in Kosovo in 1999 ended military offensives in both regions by Serbian forces.

Some European pacifists have objected to what is supposed to be a peace prize being presented for military action.

After the ceremony, Mr Clinton returned to Berlin for dinner with Chancellor Schroeder and a dozen other world leaders ahead of a short conference on so-called 'Third Way' politics - alternatives to the traditional socialist and conservative approaches to government.

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See also:

01 Jun 00 | Europe
Germany wary about US Star Wars
31 May 00 | Europe
EU-US trade row deepens
24 Mar 00 | Americas
Russia calls for 'Star Wars' ban
30 May 00 | Americas
Lukewarm peace after Cold War
19 Jan 00 | Americas
US missile test fails
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