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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           Helsinki, Finland
For Immediate Release                                     March 21, 1997
                               FACT SHEET
                  Joint Statement on European Security

At their meeting in Helsinki, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin issued a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to the shared goal of a stable, secure, integrated and undivided democratic Europe.

The Presidents agreed that the evolution of European security structures should be managed in a way that threatens no state and in accordance with the principles of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, including respect for human rights, democracy and the sovereignty and integrity of all states, as well as their right to choose the means to ensure their own security. They underscored their commitment to strengthen the OSCE as the only framework for European security providing full and equal participation of all states.

The Presidents discussed in depth the question of relations between NATO and Russia. While they continue to disagree on the issue of NATO enlargement, in order to minimize the consequences of this disagreement, they agreed to work, together and with others, on a document to establish a cooperative relationship between NATO and Russia as an important part of a new European security system. This document would be an enduring commitment at the highest political level.

The document would reflect the transformation of NATO and the new realities in Russia. As defined in the document, the NATO-Russia relationship would include consultation, coordination and, to the maximum extent possible where appropriate, joint decision-making and action on security issues of common concern. It thus provides the basis for a positive and flexible relationship that will encourage cooperation and can evolve and expand over time.

The Presidents stressed the importance of adapting the CFE Treaty, setting the target of concluding by late spring or early summer a framework agreement on basic elements for the CFE adaptation negotiations now underway in Vienna. President Yeltsin expressed Russian concerns that NATO enlargement could lead to a threatening build-up of NATO forces near Russia. President Clinton stated that the Alliance contemplates nothing of the kind. Indeed, on March 14, the North Atlantic Council stated that "in the current and foreseeable security environment, the Alliance will carry out its collective defense and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces."

President Clinton recalled NATO's policy on nuclear weapons deployments, as stated by the North Atlantic Council on December 10, 1996, that NATO members have "no intention, no plan and no reason" to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new member states, nor do they see any future need to do so. President Clinton noted NATO's willingness to include a reference to this policy in the NATO-Russia document, which President Yeltsin welcomed.

Finally, the Presidents agreed that the United States, Russia and all their European partners face common security challenges that can best be met through cooperation among all states of the Euro-Atlantic area. They pledged to build upon their Helsinki meeting to improve the effectiveness of European security institutions.

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