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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Atlanta, Georgia)
For Immediate Release                                     April 14, 2000


I am very pleased that the Russian State Duma today approved the START II Treaty ' a critical step toward the Treaty's entering into force. This action builds on decades of cooperation between the United States and Russia to reduce nuclear arms and clearly advances the interests of both countries. Together with the START I Treaty, it will result in a two-thirds reduction in the strategic nuclear weapons that the Soviet Union and the United States maintained at the height of the Cold War. START II will make our people safer and our partnership with a democratic Russia stronger. It will open the door to further significant steps to reduce nuclear arms and the nuclear danger, a course that is strongly supported by the international community and has strong bipartisan support in the United States.

I congratulate President-elect Putin and his government, members of the State Duma, and Russian citizens who supported this giant step toward a safer future. I look forward to prompt action on the Treaty by the Federation Council. Now, we and Russia can and must seize this opportunity to intensify our discussions on both START III and the ABM Treaty, so we can take further concrete steps this year to strengthen the security of the United States, Russia and indeed the whole world.

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