THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Minsk, Belarus)
RADIO ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION
The Kremlin Moscow, Russia
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Today I'm speaking to you from Moscow, where I'm completing a series of meetings with President Boris Yeltsin and other Russian reformers. My visit here comes near the end of a week of European meetings designed to increase American security and American prosperity by working to make Europe more united through shared democratic values and institutions, free trading market economies, and defense cooperation.
Despite the challenges we face at home from health care reform to fighting crime, to retraining our work force and creating more jobs, we still must remain engaged in world affairs. That's the only way we can spur worldwide economic growth and open foreign markets, so that we can boost our exports and create new American jobs. We also have to exert leadership in world affairs to protect our nation and keep small problems today from growing into dangerous crises tomorrow.
No part of the world is more important to us than Europe. Our people fought two world wars in this century to protect Europe's democracies. Today, Europe remains at the heart of our security and is also our most valuable partner in trade and investment.
Now, Europe stands at a key moment -- the Cold War is over. Western Europe no longer fears invasion. And we no longer live in the shadow of nuclear annihilation. The Soviet Union has given way to a dozen new independent and largely democratic states from Central Asia to the Baltic countries.
Yet despite these advances for freedom, we still need to work with our transatlantic partners to build a new security. Many nations of the former Soviet bloc are fighting economic hardship that could threaten their new democracies. In many of these countries militant nationalists are fanning the flames of ancient, ethnic and religious hatreds. And we still have to finish the work of reducing the Cold War nuclear stockpiles. We can't afford to ignore these challenges.
Our country tried turning our back on Europe after World War I. The result was a global depression, the rise of fascism and another world war. After World War II we acted more wisely. We stood firm against communist expansion. We founded NATO. We created new institutions to help expand global trade. We helped turned Western Europe's warring neighbors into solid allies. The result has been one of the most peaceful and prosperous times in all history.
One key to our new security is helping Europe's former communist states succeed themselves in building democratic governments, market economies and peaceful militaries. Our best security investment today is to support these practices of freedom in Europe's eastern half in places such as Poland, Ukraine and Russia. That was my top goal on this trip.
In Brussels, I met with European leaders about ways to strengthen all our nations by expanding trade and economic growth. I also attended a summit to adapt NATO, history's greatest military alliance, to this new era. Our NATO partners approved my proposal for a Partnership For Peace, a partnership which invites Europe's eastern nations to participate in military cooperation with NATO's forces.
In Prague I met with the leaders of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. These countries have been at the forefront of communism's collapse and democracy's rebirth. As I met with such famous democratic heroes, as President Lech Walesa of Poland and President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, I assured them that the security of their countries is important to our security, and I outlined new ways to help their economic reform succeed.
Then I flew to Kiev in the Ukraine. I met with Ukraine's President Kravchuk to nail down an agreement to eliminate over 1,800 nuclear warheads that were left in Ukraine when the Soviet Union broke apart. Most of those warheads have been targeted at the United States. And their elimination will make all of us safer, not only from nuclear accidents but from nuclear terrorism.
And now I'm in Moscow -- the weather's cold, but our work has brought us to a new season of partnership, warm partnership with Russia's reformers. President Yeltsin and I reached a series of agreements to expand our trade ties, protect human rights, and reduce the threat of nuclear accidents of proliferation.
One of the experiences I enjoyed most here in Moscow was speaking to an audience of Russians, many of them young people. In many ways their concerns reminded me of those voiced by our own young people, especially as they spoke about their educations and their careers, their hopes and their fears about the future. But their comments also suggested that their hopes for a new Russia, despite all the problems that they have today -- a new Russia, proud and free -- outweigh their fears. I tried to convince them that their peaceful transition to a more open society is important not only to them but to all the rest of us in the world as well. And I urged them to stay the course of economic and political reform.
In the end, the next generation is what this entire trip is about -- the young people in America, the young people in Europe and throughout the rest of the world. The kind of efforts we're pursuing this week, the kind of efforts that will increase democracy, provide for military cooperation instead of conflict and provide for more open markets for more jobs for our people and other people. These are the things which will make our young people's future more promising, more prosperous and more secure.
Thanks for listening.