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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 27, 1999

        In Series of Meetings, Gore and Stepashin Discuss Economic
         Reform, Arms Control, Non-Proliferation and Other Issues

Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Sergey Stepashin -- co-chairs of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation -- put U.S.-Russian relations back on track today with detailed discussions on economic and security issues. They also met with President Clinton, and announced this afternoon that the two countries would begin discussions on START III and the ABM Treaty next month in Moscow. Today's announcement follows an agreement reached by President Clinton and President Yeltsin at the G-8 Summit in Cologne that discussions would begin this summer on START III and ABM.

"The United States and Russia have long understood that reducing nuclear arsenals is in our mutual interest," Vice President Gore said. "That is why we will continue to press for ratification of START II and begin discussions next month toward START III."

"In addition, we both understand that there are ballistic missile threats we both face that do not come from each other, but from other nations. That is why it is important -- in parallel with achieving our arms control objectives -- to discuss implications for the ABM Treaty should the United States decide to deploy a National Missile Defense."

The Vice President and Prime Minister also discussed Russia's economic reform agenda, non-proliferation, and commercial space cooperation, and the Vice President expressed his deep concern over recent acts of anti-Semitism in Russia.

The Vice President and Prime Minister also set priorities for the future work of the Commission, including efforts to enhance Y2K cooperation, to promote investment and economic growth in Russia, to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement and the rule of law, and to tighten Russian export controls to halt nuclear and missile proliferation to rogue states.

"As we approach the new millennium, more and more of our challenges are threats all nations face together, and no nation can solve on its own," Vice President Gore said. "In this new era, strong U.S.-Russia ties will be an essential component of American national security and global stability. That's why I am eager to keep building our partnership with Russia -- to enhance the chance for peace and prosperity for both our countries in the coming century."

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