THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN OF RUSSIA AT ARRIVAL CEREMONY The South Lawn
10:15 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT CLINTON: President and Mrs. Yeltsin, members of the Russian delegation, distinguished guests. On behalf of the American people, it is my great honor to welcome President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin and Mrs. Naina Yeltsin to Washington for this state visit.
Mr. President, it wasn't so long ago that Russian American summits were moments of high drama, and sometimes disappointing results. The people of our countries and from around the world watched nervously as their leaders met in a heavy atmosphere of mutual suspicion and fear. The fate of the world seemed to hang in the balance of those encounters. And success was defined as the avoidance of confrontation or crisis.
Our moment is quite different, but no less important. For these are exciting times, times of great opportunity. And we are cooperating to seize them for the good of all Russians, all Americans and all the people of the world.
Today we meet not as adversaries, but as partners in the quest for a more prosperous and a more peaceful planet. In so many areas, our interests no longer conflict, they coincide. And where we do disagree, we can discuss our differences in a climate of warm peace, not cold war.
The Russian American relationship is at last, remarkably, a normal one -- full of real accomplishments and genuine promise. Mr. President, this evolution in our relations is due in no small part to the peaceful revolution you are leading in Russia, one that the United States has fully supported. Your steadfastness and courage in the face of difficult odds have inspired millions of Americans.
And you have proved the pessimists wrong. Far from falling backward, Russia, under your leadership, is coming together and moving forward. Your efforts, of course, could not be successful if you did not have the support of a great and courageous people. Here in America, we have known the trials and tribulations of history; but the Russian people have survived invasions and wars, deprivation and dictatorship. And through it all, the Russians have endured, producing uplifting poetry and songs, great novels and films, ingenious science and path-breaking technology. Now, the free and open society you are building will allow the Russian people finally to reach their full potential. Russia's greatest hours lie before her.
Mr. President, we are privileged to share a great moment, an historic opportunity. When we met in Vancouver over 18 months ago, and again in Moscow last January, we vowed to seize that opportunity by creating and building upon a new partnership between our two nations, a partnership that works. And we have kept that commitment.
As a result, our missiles no longer target each other's people for destruction; instead they are being dismantled. Our soldiers no longer face each other as deadly adversaries; instead, they work together as partners for peace. Young Russians and Americans no longer learn to be fearful and mistrustful of each other; instead they study together in record numbers. Trade between our countries is no longer stifled by export controls and prohibitions; instead, it is growing every day to the benefit of both our peoples.
In short, our nations are growing closer together, replacing suspicion and fear with trust and cooperation. Mr. President, this summit of ours, unlike its predecessors, is about the future -- a future in which we will strive to integrate Russia and the West, to build a new century of peace in Europe, and the future of shared responsibility that comes with vast territory, large populations, great power and democratic values. To use our combined influence and authority for the good of the world beyond our borders.
Together, we have agreed to safeguard nuclear materials and to shut down plutonium production reactors. Together, with Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus we will rid your region of thousands of nuclear warheads. Together, we must ensure that all the new independent states achieve their rightful place as strong and independent nations in Europe, able to chart their own destinies. For that reason, all Americans rejoiced and deeply respected your decision to withdraw your troops from the Baltic nations.
Together, we are working to bring peace to Bosnia, to the Middle East, to Nagorno-Karabakh. Together, we will build an international space station and explore the solar system. Together, we will carry the fight against transnational problems, like terrorism, environmental degradation and organized crime. Together, we can -- and we will -- make a difference not only for our own people, but also for men, women and children all around the world.
Mr. President, it is an honor to have you with us. Together, we have done well in laying the foundation of trust and security between our two peoples. Now, let us build on it to secure a future of peace.
Welcome to the United States. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT YELTSIN: President Clinton, Bill Clinton; Mrs. Clinton, Hillary Clinton; ladies and gentlemen.
I am very happy to meet America once again. I am grateful to you, Mr. President, for the kind words spoken about Russia and the Russians and about myself. People in my country also show great affection toward, and a never-ending interest in the United States of America. On behalf of the Russian people, I extend my cordial greetings to you and, in your person, to all Americans. It is fair to say that the United States is a strong partner and not an easy one to deal with; just like Russia. But I think -- and I believe my colleague, Bill Clinton will agree with me -- that this makes it all the more exciting and meaningful for the two countries to join hands.
The dialogue between the Russian and American Presidents has begun in earnest. I am referring to my speech before the United Nations General Assembly yesterday. And I have found your speech very exciting, too. Evidently, our thoughts and ideas have a lot in common, which is only natural, for we are two like-minded individuals, in that we are both equally committed to values of democracy and ideals of liberty. And we strive to provide nations of the earth with decent living and a future of peace and security. And we seek to remove all barriers blocking the equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and the United States in order to meet the interests of the two countries, and those of the world Community of Nations.
Those are very lofty goals to attain. I attach crucial importance to Russia's and America's willingness to address and resolve problems that still exist, and to gently put in place a longlasting mechanism of our bilateral ties oriented toward the 21st century. We can, and indeed must, render our collaboration dynamic, and make it more effective in the economic sector and coordinate our efforts more closely on the international scene. I firmly believe that the nations of Russia and America and the nations of the world will only benefit from that.
We in Russia hold in high esteem your efforts at and your contribution, Mr. President, to sustaining the good relations between the two countries, have warm memories of the visit you paid to Russia last winter, and of the meetings and talks that followed. They were invariably imbued with profound understanding and trust and they proved productive. It is precisely for this reason that I look optimistically to the future of the Russian-American relations.
We have two days of talks, meetings and discussions in store for us here in Washington, D.C. Some people in the world and some people in Russia say that our dialogue with Bill Clinton this time will prove hard and will show no results. I would like to state explicitly for you and for the entire world community that this dialogue we are going to have will make great progress.
Once again, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, and Mrs. Clinton and all those present here for your warm hospitality. And I would to thank the military officers present here, too. Thank you very much.
END10:39 A.M. EDT