|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Press Briefing on board aircraft en route Florence from Washington, DC
May 24, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all we have a set of very interesting and important meetings. I always think that the NACs provide the opportunity for reaffirming basic principles and dealing with issues that are on the front burner now; our discussions on the Balkans, the Stability Pact, I think is on everybody's mind. So we'll have a chance to do that. And then on going discussions that we have about ESDI and NATO; provide a good forum for that. The PJC, the fact that we're going to do that this time, I think is very important and really building on the potential of the Founding Act with the Russians so we're looking forward to that. Croatia coming into the Partnership for Peace I think is a very important recognition of the fact that they have changed direction and we're going to be praising them. And lots of bilaterals and a lot of good meetings.
QUESTION: One of the bilaterals tomorrow is a dinner with Foreign Minister Ivanov. What topics are you going to discuss?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We always have a full plate at dinner. (laughter) And a lot of discussions. I'm sure very going to be talking about summit preparations. We just met in Washington about three weeks ago. I think that we'll continue our discussion, be talking about the Balkans.
QUESTION: On the Defense Trade Initiative, could you explain the motivation behind it in a little more detail? Is this intended to hold the Alliance together, make it a closer Alliance? Is it a response to anything that has come up in particular?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Basically the point here is because there are already a number of interoperable systems that work together I think it makes a lot of sense for us to have a system that allows us to have an even better relationship in terms of our defense product.
QUESTION: Is it something the Europeans have been pushing for? Is there commercial pressure for it?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Generally there have been discussions about how to make the process not only be useful in terms of the interoperability and being able to have similar systems but also making sure that the export control aspect of this works. I think it's coming from both sides.
QUESTION: On the NMD and revision of the ABM Treaty do you expect any progress during your discussions with Mr. Ivanov?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I'm sure we'll be talking about it because it's been something that we've been talking about all along. Mr. Ivanov had briefings when he was in Washington and discussions have been going on in Moscow at various levels and so I think we will obviously be talking about that and getting ready for the summit.
QUESTION: Will Chechnya come up again?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Yes, I'm sure it will because I will raise it.
QUESTION: Have you seen any signs of change as a result of the new Russian government?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: In terms of U.S. relations?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think generally it is very business-like. We get a lot of things done. The discussions are very productive. I'm very glad to see my good friend Foreign Minister Ivanov re-appointed because we've established very good working relations.
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