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USA’s Colin Powell And Russia’s Igor Ivanov

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman (Rome, Italy) For Immediate Release July 18, 2001

Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell And Foreign Minister of Russia Igor Ivanov Following Their Meeting Rome, Italy July 18, 2001

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: We've just had a conversation with the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and his delegation. As always, this discussion was very productive and very active. Of course, we have paid special attention to the implementation of agreements reached at the Russian-American Summit meeting in Ljubljiana, and also issues related to the forthcoming meeting between the two Presidents were considered.

We are united with the Secretary of State that the Ljubljiana summit has given a positive impetus to the furtherance of relations between Russia and the United States. As a result of this summit, a trend towards a very specific interaction between two countries on international issues and relations outstanding on the bilateral agenda has been strengthened.

In the very near future, a representative delegation will visit Moscow, headed by the ministers of finance and trade of the United States. We welcome this visit to Moscow and are looking forward for this meeting to give an additional impetus to our relations both in trade and economic areas and in the area of investments.

Quite naturally, during today's consultations, we paid considerable attention and devoted considerable time to the issues related to strategic stability. Unfortunately, since the time of the Ljubljiana meeting, we did not manage to launch particular and practical work of the working parties, both at the levels of the ministers of foreign affairs and the defense departments.

>From the Russian side, the composition of such groups has been nominated, and as soon as the US side is prepared, we are prepared to begin substantive concrete discussions. We agreed with the Secretary of State to continue these discussions both during our forthcoming meeting in Hanoi during the APEC forum and within the context and the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

Of course, regional problems deserved considerable attention during our discussions. We are concerned with the developments in the Middle East, and we agreed to further closely cooperate with a view to a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East. We had a detailed discussion of the Iraqi settlement. We agreed to further our close cooperation, including in the Security Council that would enable us to agree on the solution that would result in the final Iraqi settlement.

We also exchanged our views on the situation on the developments in the Balkans. We are seriously concerned of the recent developments in Macedonia, very dangerous developments in Macedonia provoked by the Albanian terrorists from the territory of Kosovo. In this regard, we again have drawn the attention of our colleagues to our recent initiative concerning the instrument on the legal basis of the settlements in the Balkans that would recognize the inviolability of sovereign state borders in the Balkans inter alia. We also exchanged our views on some other issues on the bilateral agenda. Our discussions were as usual in a very friendly manner and we agreed to continue our very close cooperation in the future.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much Mr. Minister, the conversations were held in a very, very friendly manner. This is the sixth opportunity that the Minister and I have had to get together in the six months that I have been the Secretary of State. It is important to do it at this time to follow-up on the work of our two residents at Ljubljiana.

The Minister has given a comprehensive statement of all the issues we talked about so I will only touch on a few. First, let me note that Secretary Evans, our Commerce Secretary, and Secretariat Condoleezza Rice, our national security advisor, will all be in Moscow next week to follow-up on the initiatives that were decided upon at Ljubljiana by President Putin and President Bush, and I think this is a positive step forward.

The Minister and I also had a very thorough discussion on strategic issues and the United States' desire to move forward with a new strategic framework proposal that deals with offensive strategic weapons and defensive systems of the kind we have been pursuing. As the Minister noted, we've talked about this previously, but now is the time for our working groups to begin discussions in greater detail -- and so working groups from both the defense ministry and foreign ministry of both countries will begin to work this problem more intensely, and the Minister and I will have a chance to discuss it again in Hanoi next week and then in the United States at the time of the UN General Assembly in September, and I look forward to those discussions.

As the Minister noted, we discussed the Middle East and reaffirmed that we will be working with the parties in the region to bring the violence under control so that we can move toward an implementation of the Mitchell Report Plan and return to comprehensive negotiations that hopefully will bring peace to this region in due course.

We also had a chance to discuss a number of other regional issues, as the Minister noted. In Macedonia, I briefed the Minister on the work that our representatives have been doing in Macedonia -- with the parties in Macedonia to try to find a political solution to this very, very difficult challenge that the government of Macedonia is facing, and do it in a way that respects the rights of all of the people of Macedonia and preserves the territorial integrity of Macedonia.

I look forward to working with our Russian colleagues at the UN in New York, to see if we can find a way to move forward with respect to Iraq in the five month period of time available to us before we have to deal with the next resolution, and I appreciate the Minister's forthcoming comments that we should work to find a solution.

We also talked about the situation in Georgia and Belarus and a number of other places and we talked about some of the bilateral issues that are normal for us to talk about, but rather than take you to each and every one of them, I think at this point it might be more useful for us to throw it open to questions, and just let me conclude by thanking the Minister for sharing time with me this morning and I look forward to being with him over the next day here in Rome and also look forward to our future meetings.

QUESTION: Foreign Minister Ivanov - based on what you heard this morning how much time do you think Russia has to reach agreement with the United States on missile defense; and also based on your conversations, what's in it for Russia? Are you expecting any-- have you been offered, have you been told about any inducements, such as debt relief?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: Yes, for timing, I would myself appreciate a more clear picture on that. The issues related to strategic stability have long become a fixed item in our agenda, and I think and I do hope that the discussions will continue, will continue and we will be able to achieve more clarity and we would very much appreciate it. Russia is prepared for a dialogue, for a constructive dialogue, which was stated by President Putin in Ljubljiana.

Of course, one is not talking here of trade-offs and give and take, what we are talking here is serious issues related to strategic stability in all its dimensions and aspects. We realize all too well that we are not only talking here the stability in terms of Russia and the United States, the success in this dialogue will by and large determine the strategic stability in the entire world.

SECRETARY POWELL: I just might add that the picture will become clear in the very near future, the Defense Department has been hard at work, examining the programs that are available to us to move forward with missile defense and we are starting to present those programs to the Congress and to our friends and allies. And so, there will be clarity as to the programs we are going to be moving forward on in the very near future, which will give my Russian colleagues a basis upon which to make judgments as to how we should move forward with respect to the strategic framework and respect to the ABM Treaty.

QUESTION: Have you received any clarification from the United States to the fact that the tests now being conducted will very soon come into contradiction with the ABM Treaty?

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: We discussed the issues related to strategic stability in general terms, and we did not touch on individual aspects of this issue. For, without a complete clarity on the overall dimension of strategic stability, it would be unwise to make any conclusion, or draw any conclusion, regarding particularities and details.

QUESTION: Mr. Powell and Mr. Ivanov please, which conditions do you think are necessary to send international observers in the Palestinian territories?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think with the agreement of both sides, and secondly, I think before we can consider observers or monitors, you really need to have started the Mitchell plan, and you really do have to have some conditions that allow monitors to do a job and we have discussed with the parties and with others what might be possible in the future, either US participation or the participation with others, but it is premature to think on these current conditions that one could put in place a monitoring force or a monitoring element.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: I subscribe to what Colin has said and I would like to add that the agreement on the acceptable form of the international presence is of course necessary, and this presence would be necessary for a long-term stability in this part of the region.

Thank you.

# # #

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