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The BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow
"He was heckled from the audience"
 real 28k

President Bill Clinton
"We need more co-operation, not more competition""
 real 28k

Joseph Ciricincione, Carnegie Endowment for Peace
"President Clinton received some very bad advice"
 real 28k

Monday, 5 June, 2000, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Clinton seeks to ease Russian fears
Mr Clinton, centre, with the Speaker of the Russian State Duma Gennady Seleznev, right
Clinton at the Duma: Defended missile programme
President Bill Clinton has said the United States wants to see a strong Russia that will help to maintain global stability in the 21st Century.

But in a wide-ranging speech to the country's parliament, the State Duma, he again defended US plans for an anti-missile defence system.

Mr Clinton - the first major Western leader to address the Duma - said that such a system would not undermine Russia's own deterrence.

The president later flew to the Ukraine, where talks were expected to focus on the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

It is thought that a closure date for the plant, scene of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986, could be announced.

In his address to the Duma, Mr Clinton said the US would support Russia's entry to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

He said the two countries could also cooperate on other global goals, such as the environment and the prevention of disease.

We must have more co-operation, not competition, between nation states

President Clinton
In a 45-minute speech that earned him polite applause but no standing ovation, Mr Clinton said differences between the two countries on missile defence were mainly technical and could eventually be resolved.

He and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed on Sunday that there was a threat from so-called rogue states, but they differed on how to tackle the problem.

"I believe that we ought to be able to reach an agreement about how we should proceed at each step along the way here in a way that preserves mutual deterrence, preserves strategic stability and preserves the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty," he said. "That is my goal."

The US president at the Duma
Mr Clinton said differences on missiles could be resolved
The United States wants to amend the 1972 ABM treaty to deploy a national anti-missile defence shield to intercept incoming missiles.

Mr Clinton told deputies that the US wanted a strong Russia, although the two countries' interests were not always identical.

They would have "inevitable" disagreements, but there were many areas in which they could work in partnership.

'We will support you'

"To protect our security we must have more co-operation, not competition, between nation states."

Mr Clinton said that Russia's journey to democracy and the free market was among the most important he would witness in his lifetime.

He stressed the importance of building a normal economic relationship and said that Russia should join the WTO.

"Russia should not be the only major industrialised country standing outside this global trading system.

"We will support you, but you must know the decision to join the WTO requires difficult choices that only you can make," he said.

New laws

Russia applied in 1993 to enter the WTO and recently said it was ready to intensify efforts to join the organisation.

Mr Clinton said that the success of the Russian people in building a "modern, strong, democratic nation that is part of the life of the rest of the world" would strongly influence the 21st century.

He called for new laws on taxes, money-laundering and property rights and warned against authoritarianism.

Mr Clinton said he supported Russia's right to protect its territorial integrity but disagreed "as a friend" with its war in Chechnya because it had caused large numbers of civilian casualties while lacking a clear path towards a political solution.

Demonstration during President Clinton's visit
A woman shouts anti-American slogans during a pro-communist protest at the Duma.

About 50 demonstrators protesting against US influence in Europe greeted Mr Clinton's motorcade as he arrived at the Duma building.

Before leaving, he signed agreements with Mr Putin, cutting their stocks of weapons-grade plutonium and setting up a joint missile early-warning centre.

Mr Putin then left for a two-day visit to Italy and The Vatican.

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See also:

04 Jun 00 | Europe
The plutonium deal
03 Jun 00 | Media reports
Russian press sceptical on Clinton visit
02 Jun 00 | Europe
Clinton urges European unity
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
19 Jan 00 | Americas
US missile test fails
03 Jun 00 | Europe
Leaders agree jobs pact
02 Jun 00 | Europe
Why Russia fears US 'Star Wars'
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