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President Clinton Speaks To Leaders Of The Russian Duma and Regional Leaders

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Office of the Press Secretary
(Moscow, Russia)

For Immediate Release September 2, 1998


Spaso House
Moscow, Russia

3:20 P.M. (L)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador. I'dliketo thank all of you who have come here today to Spaso House. I have metwithseveral of you before here, and as always, I attempt to come to Russia withthe view of listening to a wide variety of views and meeting everyone I canwho is involved in the activities of the day.

I am pleased to be joined by the Secretary of State,MadeleineAlbright; our Secretary of Commerce, Bill Daley; and the Secretary ofEnergy,Bill Richardson; and with some distinguished members of Congress. I seeSenator Bingaman and Congressman King. I don't know if Senator DomeniciandCongressman Hoyer are here or not. But we all want to get to know all ofyou.

I am proud of what America and Russia have achievedtogetherin reducing the threat of nuclear war and in cooperating in areas likeBosnia.Today we announced two other steps to cooperate -- first in the sharing ofearly warning information on missile firings; and second, in a commitmenttodramatically reduce our stocks of plutonium ,amove that might also be of benefit to the Russian economy.

I'd like to, before I go out and start to visit with youindividually, make just a couple of observations about the economicchallengesfacing Russia today. First of all, I recognize that around this room thereare many different points of view represented, and I think that is a goodthing for the strength of Russian democracy. Second, I think it'simportantto point out that all over the world there are many countries thathave democratically elected leaders and successful economies, andrather dramatically different social systems, differentapproaches to achieving success economically with electedleadership. So Russia must have its own approaches that keep thenation strong, that care for the people who are in need, thatprepare for the future of your children. And no other countrycan define that approach, and no other country's approach wouldbe exactly right for Russia. But I do not believe you can findone country in the world that is economically successful that hascompletely ignored the ground rules of the global economy.

For all their differences, all the countries thatare succeeding have some things in common. They have tax systemsthat are fair and bring in revenues adequate to meet theirspending requirements. They have marketing systems that regulateand provide for effective banking and trading in the country.They have a rule of law which permits commerce to succeed and toproceed on predictable terms in which individual interests areproperly protected.

Now, when countries have this, whether they're largeor small, whether they're in Latin America, Asia, or Africa,wherever they are, they see that money flows into the countryinstead of flowing out of it.

I come here as someone who considers himself afriend of your country and someone who deeply believes that inthe century just ahead of us America and Russia must be partners.I hope you will be able to bridge your differences to agree on,first, a program to stabilize the current situation, and then apath to finish the framework of basic things that everysuccessful economy has; then, within your democratic system,whatever decisions you make about how to organize your societyare your decisions to make and we will support you and find a wayto work together.

But if the basic framework is not in place, as afriend I say I do not believe that you can defy the rules of theroad in today's global economy anymore than I could defy the lawsof gravity by stepping off the top floor of Spaso House. It hasnothing to do with politics, and everything to do with the waythe world is working today. But if you can find a way to worktogether and work through this crisis, the United States willstand with you and will not presume to judge on the specificsocial systems you decide to put in place within a democraticsystem with a strong economy that has integrity of itsfundamental elements.

Thank you again for coming.

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Speeches on September 2nd

Clinton Speaks to Leaders of the Russian Duma and Regional Leaders

Press Conference With President Yeltsin