THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
In an Oval Office meeting, President Clinton today congratulated the Head of State of Belarus, Stanislav Shushkevich, for the historic decision his country has taken to join the NonProliferation Treaty (NPT). The President praised Chairman Shushkevich for the support Belarus has given to the cause of non-proliferation.
The President noted that Belarus is the first of the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union to fully honor its commitments under the Lisbon Protocol to ratify START and accede to the NPT. He applauded this courageous step, stating that under the leadership of Chairman Shushkevich, Belarus has been in the forefront of the global effort to safeguard mankind from the threat of nuclear destruction.
The President announced that this week our countries have signed three agreements providing for $59 million in assistance under the Nunn-Lugar legislation for projects aimed at dealing with the legacy of nuclear weapons in Belarus. We expect to be working closely with Belarus in the near term to develop additional projects.
President Clinton also stressed the strong interest of the U.S. in expanding economic ties with Belarus, particularly in trade and investment opportunities for American and Belarusian firms. He expressed his hope that the U.S. and Belarus will conclude soon a Bilateral Investment Treaty, a Tax Treaty and a Peace Corps agreement.
Chairman Shushkevich's visit to Washington represents the President's first official meeting in the United States with the head of state of one of the Newly Independent States.
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