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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 21, 1994
                      AND SLOVAK PRESIDENT KOVAC

The Oval Office

10:44 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT CLINTON: May I first just make an opening comment here. The United States is very honored to have the Hungarian President, Mr. Goncz, and the Slovak President, Mr. Kovac, here. They are on their way to New York to receive a well-deserved award for their common commitment to democracy and reform. They have supported both steadfastly, and with great courage and consistencies. And I have personally enjoyed very much the relationship that we have had working together on the Partnership For Peace concept and in many other areas; and I look forward to their progress.

And I congratulate the people of Hungary and the Slovak Republic for their steadfastness, even in the face of great difficulty, and their leaders for their genuine leadership ability. So, it's a great honor for us to have them here in the White House. And we will be talking about the role the United States will be playing with them and the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe now and in the years ahead in this meeting.

Q Mr. President, is Russia going to sign the Partnership For Peace tomorrow in Brussels, that you know of?

THE PRESIDENT: We hope so. We hope they will be doing it in the next few days. I'm not sure exactly whether all the details have been worked out. But when President Yeltsin and I spoke a couple of days ago about the Korean matter, we talked a bit about that. And I expect them to join the Partnership For Peace sometime in the next few days.

Q And have you opened up a channel to North Korea in the aftermath of former President Carter's --

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have a channel of communications to them. And we have followed up President Carter's statements to me and his letter of understanding with a communication to the North Koreans. And we will be waiting to hear back, and we expect and hope to hear back within a couple of days about whether President Carter's understanding of what they said is correct.

Q President Clinton, have you decided whether to launch a legal defense fund?

THE PRESIDENT: I have nothing to say about that.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END10:48 A.M. EDT