Moscow, 5 June 2000 (RFE/RL) - Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Bill Clinton of the United States have reached agreement on several measures aimed at increasing global security. At their Moscow summit yesterday, the two leaders signed an accord for their countries to each destroy 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium, an amount that could make thousands of nuclear warheads.
They also agreed to set up a joint early-warning center to detect missile launches. But Clinton and Putin failed to bridge differences over a U.S. plan to possibly deploy a national missile defense system, though they pledged to continue discussions on the issue.
Clinton said he urged Putin to find a political settlement to the Chechen conflict. Clinton said he believes Putin is capable of building a prosperous, strong Russia, while also preserving freedom.
U.S. President Bill Clinton today became the first major western leader to address Russia's State Duma, the lower house of parliament.
Clinton told the Duma in his historic address that Washington and Moscow need to work together to build trust and further mutual goals. He encouraged the legislators to diversify Russia's economy, and said that he will support the country's efforts to join the World Trade Organization.
Clinton also said the United States will work with Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals and that terrorism is a fundamental threat to both countries.
The speech was the last major event of Clinton's three-day visit to Moscow. Clinton is now due to meet with former President Boris Yeltsin before traveling to neighboring Ukraine.
A U.S. official said Clinton is expected to make several announcements in Kyiv, including a pledge of financial assistance to help close the Chornobyl nuclear plant.
Ukrainian officials have said a date to close Chornobyl is expected to be announced during Clinton's visit.
U.S. officials have said Clinton also plans to encourage Ukraine to continue on the path of democratic and economic reform. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said Clinton's visit was a significant event that will promote a greater understanding of Ukraine's role in Europe. Ukrainian leaders have said they are seeking to move the country towards more integration with Europe.