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Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen Media Availability in Moscow, Russia

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
June 13, 2000

June 13, 2000

Media Availability in Moscow, Russia

Q: How did your meeting go this morning with President Putin? What items were discussed?

Secretary Cohen: It went very well. It went a couple minutes longer than scheduled, and we had a very candid exchange of views. I talked about the need to find areas of cooperation and the shared early warning MOU [memorandum of understanding] that was signed by President Clinton and President Putin at the recent summit and the need to get that implemented. I hope to conclude that by this fall. We talked about the ways in which our troops could cooperate even further, not only in Kosovo and on the ground, but with our sea forces, our air forces, and strategic units having greater cooperation. Then, of course, we talked about the nature of the threat posed by emerging rogue states, and I indicated to him that we were conducting our research and development and awaiting a decision on NMD [national missile defense]. In the meantime, we would certainly be willing to explore cooperation on theater missile defenses, but those TMD systems, of course, would apply to Russia and Europe and not to the United States. I'd also be interested in exploring further the concept of an "umbrella" over the emerging threat areas and what that would entail, technologically as well as from a practical point of view and that, in the short term, it would not provide the kind of protection that we would need for the United States, but we are willing to explore that further.

Q: Did he explain what he had in mind with his proposal in any more detail?

Cohen: He suggested that we continue to discuss it with Marshal Sergeyev and other experts.

Q: Did you suggest that it might not be keeping with the ABM Treaty, that it would violate the ABM Treaty (inaudible)?

Cohen: I did not discuss that specifically with him. We're going to talk more about it in the session, and Marshal Sergeyev and I have already discussed that.

Q: Did he clarify whether their system will apply to the boost phase or to intercept warheads on their way down and whether it's based on the S-300 or the S-400? Was there any specificity?

Cohen: No, there was no specificity, and that's something we're going to be talking about later.

Q: Did Marshal Sergeyev, in your meeting with him earlier today...

Cohen: Well, we're going to have a little press conference afterwards, and hopefully, we can get some questions on that.

Q: Did you talk about START III at all, about bringing down...

Cohen: No.