Index

March 16, 2000

PRESS BRIEFING BY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SANDY BERGER, DEPUTY NATIONAL ECONOMIC ADVISOR LAEL BRAINARD, AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS RICK INDERFURTH

3:25 P.M. EST






                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
      ______________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                         March 16, 2000


                             PRESS BRIEFING BY
                  NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SANDY BERGER,
              DEPUTY NATIONAL ECONOMIC ADVISOR LAEL BRAINARD,
         AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS
                                      RICK INDERFURTH

            The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room


3:25 P.M. EST


          MR. HAMMER:  Good afternoon.  Today we have the President's
National Security Advisor, Samuel R. Berger; and Deputy National Economic
Advisor Lael Brainard; and the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian
Affairs Rick Inderfurth are here to brief you on the President's upcoming
trip to South Asia.

          MR. BERGER:    Good afternoon.  Let me talk for a few minutes
about why we're going and what we're going to do.  The President, as you
know, will leave Saturday for a weeklong journey to South Asia.  He will
travel to Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, and be the first President to
visit South Asia in 22 years.

          It's a region that faces enormous challenges, as we all know, but
also is beginning to realize its extraordinary promise.  There may be no
place in the world where so many issues of importance to our future come
together so dramatically -- from conflict resolution to the information
revolution, from political reform to nuclear restraint, from the
environment to the gap between rich and poor.  What happens in South Asia
will have a strong impact on the security and prosperity of the American
people for many years.

          Most of South Asians, of course, over a billion live in India,
one of the fastest growing economies and most vibrant democracies in the
world.  It's appropriate that the world's oldest democracy, the United
States, and its largest democracy, India, place their relationship on a
sounder footing.

          For 50 years, America's relationship with India has been viewed
through the prism of the Cold War and its aftermath.  President Clinton has
been determined to get this partnership on track, for the benefit of
Americans and Indians alike.  We want to deepen ties between our
governments, our private sectors, our scientists, our citizens.

          As we pursue renewed partnership, we must also address important
differences with India and, of course, with Pakistan.  The President will
discuss these issues directly with Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, and
General Musharraf in Pakistan.

          Nuclear tests by Indian and Pakistan in 1998 shook the world,
creating intensified concern about nuclear proliferation and nuclear
conflict.  India and Pakistan have committed not to test further, but they
have not yet joined the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  Each has legitimate
security concerns, but our view is that a nuclear future is a dangerous
future -- for them and for the world.

          At a time when the United States and Russia have moved toward
progressively deeper cuts in our nuclear arsenals, at a time when many
other countries around the world have given up their nuclear programs,
South Asia should not be headed in the opposite direction.  Narrowing our
differences on nonproliferation is important to realizing the full
potential of our relationship.

          The President will make plain our conviction that India and
Pakistan cannot be secure unless they engage in dialogue to resolve
tensions between them.  India and Pakistan took a promising step when their
leaders met at Lahore last year.  But that goodwill evaporated during last
summer's fighting in the Kargil region of Kashmir.

          President Clinton's supportive role in defusing the Kargil crisis
last July helped build trust with the United States.  But the ultimate
obligation for addressing the conflict rests with India and Pakistan.  The
President is not going to South Asia to mediate the dispute between them.
But he will urge them to exercise restraint and resume dialogue.  Two
nations who offer so much to the world should not condemn their children to
a dangerous future.  They should choose instead the path toward peace.

          Finally, of course, the President is going to Pakistan, traveling
there in the wake of a military coup that overthrew the
democratically-elected Prime Minister.  To be clear, this is not an
endorsement of the military government in Pakistan.  Rather, it is a
sensible decision on the part of the President to keep America's lines of
communication open with Pakistan, to urge the steps we believe are
important to peace and to stability in the region, an early return to
democracy, respect for the line of control in Kashmir, a crackdown on
terrorist groups and restraint on nuclear and missile programs.

          Now, let me rather briefly take you through the trip schedule day
by day.  The President will arrive in New Delhi on Sunday evening.  Monday
morning, he will travel to Bangladesh -- the first U.S. President ever to
visit Bangladesh.

          Since that Muslim nation of 120 million achieved independence in
1971, in defiance of some predictions, it has made impressive strides in
combatting poverty and building an inclusive democracy.  Women, including
Prime Minister Hasina, head the two major and intentionally rivalrous
parties.  Bangladesh stands with us in fighting terrorism and weapons of
mass destruction.  Last week, it ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty.

          He'll meet with the Prime Minister in Dhaka and highlight new
initiatives on energy cooperation and tropical forest conservation.  Then
the President will go to a nearby village with Mohammad Yunus, known
worldwide as the banker to the poor.  Mr. Yunus and his Grameen Bank have
been pioneers of microcredit.  I first heard his name from then-Governor
Clinton perhaps 20 years ago.

          They will meet with small entrepreneurs who have risen from
poverty through microcredit loans from the Grameen Bank.  The President
will visit a school, get a glimpse of the efforts of Bangladesh with U.S.
support, to keep children in school as an alternative to child labor.
He'll attend an official dinner in Bangladesh and then will return to
Delhi.

          Tuesday, he'll meet with Prime Minister Vajpayee.  I expect they
will address the larger political issues that concern us -- instability and
conflict in South Asia, how to manage it; nuclear weapons; and key economic
and global issues such as economic cooperation between the two countries,
challenges like AIDS and the environment, India's role in Asia, and the
future of the U.S.-Indian relationship.

          I expect that the two leaders will sign a vision statement
outlining the goals and principles that should guide our relationship going
forward.  The President will then lay a wreath at the memorial to Mahatma
Gandhi and attend a state dinner.

          Wednesday, the President will address the Indian Parliament.  He
will talk about our common aims as well as our differences.  He will then
meet with the opposition leader, Sonia Gandhi.  And then Ambassador Dick
Celeste will host a reception including prominent Indians and Indian
Americans, and Fulbright alumni celebrating the 50th anniversary of the
Fulbright educational exchange program in India.  And I believe Mrs.
Fulbright will join us for that.

          Then later on Wednesday we will go to Agra.  He'll see, and we'll
see, the Taj Mahal.  To preserve the area, the authorities there have
created a zero-air-pollution zone.  Only electric power vehicles are
permitted to move people around.  Industrial emissions have been reduced
substantially.  India is an energy-poor country, and how and where it
develops new energy sources will be critical to its ability to combat
environmental dangers and grow in an environmentally sound manner.  In
Agra, the U.S. and India will sign an agreement to increase cooperation on
the environment, and the President will announce a package of initiatives
to promote clean energy and combat climate change.

          Thursday, the President will visit Jaipur, a center of
traditional culture with historic palaces, also the capital of the
modernizing state of Rajasthan.  In a nearby village, he'll meet with
members of the local governing council and discuss how village democracy
functions in India.  These traditional bodies were expanded after
independence to include women and former untouchables.  The President will
also visit a park where Indians are working to preserve their endangered
tiger population, an effort for which the United States has provided
assistance.

          Friday morning we will be in Hyderabad, nicknamed "Cyberbad," one
of the two key cities in India's burgeoning Silicon Valley, or perhaps
Silicon Valley is America's burgeoning Cyberbad.  This is a good place for
the President to focus on science and technology and the explosion that is
taking place in India.  He'll be accompanied there by the State's Chief
Minister Naidu, who is deploying information technology not only for
economic growth in that region, but also to make government work better for
citizens.

          The President will visit a clinic to participate in immunizing
children against disease, in particular polio, a disease that India has
almost eradicated.

          That day, March 24th, is World Tuberculosis Awareness Day.
Experts estimate that more than 2 million people in India develop active TB
each year.  But India now is fighting back and they've pioneered aggressive
new treatments which are being used worldwide, including in the United
States.  And he'll observe an application of one of those treatments to a
clinic patient.

          India has more cases of AIDS than any other country in the world.
About 4 million Indians are HIV positive, and the spread of AIDS has
aggravated the TB epidemic.  The President will discuss with health care
          workers there what we and India are doing and can do together
with research and national leadership to combat TB and HIV-AIDS and
malaria.  He will then visit the high-tech City Office Complex to get a
closer look at India's thriving information technology center.

          Ten years ago, this sector did $150 million in business.  Last
year, it did $3.9 billion.  Meanwhile, people of Indian origin run more
than 750 technology companies in California's Silicon Valley alone.  The
President will talk about these links and how the United States and India
can take our technology and our economic partnership to the next level.

          The President then will travel to Mumbai, the city formerly know
as Bombay; India's Wall Street, its economic capital, the fifth-largest
city in the world.  He'll have a chance to sit down with representatives of
the next generation, some young people, some younger Indians, to discuss
the future and how they see the evolution of India.  And he'll end the day
with a reception with business leaders.

          On Saturday, we will travel to Pakistan.  The President will meet
with Pakistan's Chief Executive -- excuse me, first he'll meet with
Pakistan's President Tarar, and then he'll meet with the Chief Executive
General Musharraf.  After those meetings, the President will deliver a
televised address directly to the people of Pakistan, our longtime friends,
about our hopes for Pakistan and our concerns about its future.  We will
then depart for home.

          And now I'll ask Lael Brainard, Deputy Director of the NEC, to
address some of the economic issues.

          MS. BRAINARD:  Thanks, Sandy.  I just want to speak very briefly
and expand upon the economic agenda that Sandy touched on.  This is an
important region with really enormous development challenges; as Sandy
suggested, enormous promise, but still an area of stark economic contrasts.
There is progress as both economies, both Bangladesh and India, have been
undertaking reform and opening to trade and investment; but it's slow and
the challenges are quite remarkable.

          This trip is an opportunity for us to deepen our economic
engagement with both economies, and there are several opportunities that
the President will take to do so.  Let me just elaborate a little bit.

          In the case of Bangladesh, it is really one of the poorest, most
densely-populated countries in the world.  It has a population of 127
million living in an area the size of Wisconsin.  And there is a poverty
rate there that remains at 45 percent, despite significant progress.

          Growth has averaged 5 percent over the past few years; fertility
rates have dropped and a variety of social indicators have improved.  And
in particular, there's been a real deepening of the trade relationship with
the United States, with their exports to us jumping by nearly two-thirds
over the past 5 years.  There's also large potential for natural gas
development.

          In terms of the stops that the President mentioned, the President
will visit a world village at which we will be able to announce some
initiatives in two areas that are particularly innovative in our
development agenda and which have been very high priorities over the last
few years.  As you may know, the President has placed a high priority on
reducing child labor, not through reducing opportunities, but rather by
giving children educational opportunities at the same time families are
given alternative income generating opportunities.  And we have done that
through the Department of Labor and also through the ILO, through the
international program to eliminate child labor.

          We're going to go to a site in Bangladesh where that program will
be in operation, and it's really a remarkable story of cooperation between
the government of Bangladesh and the United States, which over time has
removed over 10,000 children from garment jobs and other such employment.

          As Sandy also mentioned, we will be meeting with Dr. Mohammad
Yunus, who is really the grandfather of microenterprise, which was started
in Bangladesh and really is one of the development initiatives that has
been brought into the developed world and used widely in our inner cities.
It's a development initiative that has taken capital and placed it in the
hands of the poorest, and enterprise has flourished.

          In India, there is in full view a stark contrast between the
traditional economy and really the most modern segments of the economy.
India's pool of trained scientists and engineers is second only to our own.
Yet the same system that has produced this large pool of scientifically
trained graduates coexists with a system which half of the women do not
have literacy skills.  So you'll see real contrasts here.

          The President will be visiting both extremes of modern India,
visiting a village in an agricultural rural area where 25 percent of the
population is still working in the agricultural area; and then also going
to, as Sandy suggested, the Silicon Valley equivalent, Hyderabad, which is
transforming the way of life for millions of Indians.

          It's worth noting just in terms of the contrast in this economy
that their largest export is textiles and apparel, which is very
traditional for a developing economy, at 25 percent, but the second-largest
export is engineering goods, which is very, very unusual.  The Prime
Minister has set a goal of making the country and information technology
superpower and a leading exporter of software within the next 10 years, and
it looks very likely that those goals are achievable.

          In terms of the broader economic picture for India, it has great
potential.  It's been growing relatively quickly over the last few years, 7
to 8 percent.  There was a first generation of economic reforms in the
early 1990s that took some of the controls out of the economy.  Now it is
time, as the Prime Minister has said, for a second wave of reforms.  This
reform agenda that Prime Minister Vajpayee has articulated is extremely
ambitious.  It includes things like liberalizing trade and investment, tax
reform, reductions in the civil service ranks, reform of labor laws -- a
whole variety of things that we think will be quite difficult, but well
worth achieving.

          There is an important crossroads right now in the Indian economy
that really is represented by these two extremes, and given the
government's interest in reform and commitment to reform, it's an important
opportunity for us to engage with the Indians.  We are hoping to be able to
deepen and institutionalize our economic engagement across a whole host of
areas -- financial markets, macroeconomics, commercial and trade -- and the
President will be discussing all of those issues with the Prime Minister.
Thank you.

          Q    Sandy, when the President said in the statement today that
he won't accept the nuclear status quo in India and Pakistan, what does he
mean by that?  And he says -- well, specifically, what does he mean?  And
what does it take to narrow the differences that would establish a better
relationship?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, obviously, only India and Pakistan, ultimately
sovereign nations, can decide on their security.  But our view is they are
not more secure with nuclear weapons than they would be without them.  And
our ultimate goal would be to persuade them to give up their nuclear
programs.

          Now, in the meantime, we've been engaged with them in a dialogue
over the last -- more than a year, particularly a dialogue conducted by
Deputy Secretary Talbott, Secretary Inderfurth, and their Indian and
Pakistani counterparts, in which we've urged them to do several things that
could decrease the level of tensions.  One, join the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty.  They have both announced and both committed to no further tests,
but we would like to see them in the Comprehensive Test Ban regime.

          Second, we've encouraged them to exercise restraint in their
nuclear programs.  The Indians, for example, have articulated a doctrine of
limited nuclear deterrence, and we have urged them to implement a policy
that does limit the expansion of these programs.

          Third, we have encouraged both of them to stop the production of
fissile material, which is the fuel, in a sense, for nuclear weapons, and
to join with us in seeking to negotiate a fissile material cutoff treaty.
Those negotiations are ongoing.  They have participated in those
negotiations.

          And finally, we've encouraged them to put in place serious export
controls on the goods and equipment and material related to their nuclear
program, so that they're not proliferating.  And in that area there has
been some progress, particularly with the Indians.

          So I would say this dialogue has been useful.  There's been some
steps, limited progress.  But we will urge them to take further steps.

          Q    There are reports that bin Laden is gravely ill.  Do you
know anything about it?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, again, I'm not going to -- you know I won't
comment on intelligence reports.  Mr. bin Laden is someone who has been of
interest to us for some time, we believe has been responsible for terrorist
attacks against the United States.  And we would like to see him brought to
justice.

          Q    Would his demise be good news for the United States?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, we would like to see him brought to justice.

          Q    Do you know anything about those reports, or are you just --

          MR. BERGER:  I'm just not going to comment on intelligence
reports.

          Q    Mr. President, I represent a newspaper in Pakistan -- and
you just said that the visit of President Clinton is not tantamount to an
endorsement of the military government of General Musharraf, and this is a
statement made by so many officials recently.  In the first week of
February, President Clinton accepted credentials from an ambassador
nominated by General Musharraf.  So can you enlighten us on the obvious
difference between recognizing the government of General Musharraf and
embracing it?

          MR. BERGER:  We recognize a lot of governments that we have
strong disagreements with, so it is not an equivalent.  In diplomacy, you
have diplomatic relations and deal with countries whose practices and
policies you may disagree with.  It has been our belief that while we
disapprove of the way in which democracy was overturned in Pakistan and
would seek an early return to democracy, as well as other steps from the
Pakistani government, that it is better for the United States and better
for the region for us to maintain a line of communication with the
government of Pakistan during particularly difficult times.  And I don't
think that maintaining a line of communication is the same thing as
endorsing it.

          Q    That's not the way they see it.

          MR. BERGER:  Well, you know, there's a very interesting editorial
in one of the Indian newspapers -- I don't know whether it was yours or
not.

          Q    I'm from Pakistan.  That's already a problem, telling the
difference.  (Laughter.)

          MR. BERGER:  Oh, excuse me.  I'm sorry.  You asked the question
in a way I thought had an Indian spin.  There was an interesting editorial
in an Indian newspaper which said that really -- think about this -- the
Indians really shouldn't be too concerned about the President going there,
for all the reasons I said, and the fact that the President of the United
States and all of his people are saying clearly, we do not endorse this
government, actually is exactly what the Indians would like to see.  So I
don't think that -- again, that stopping there, having a discussion with
the General, speaking directly in a television address to the people of
Pakistan; I believe that is in the interest of the United States --

          Q    Is there a quid pro quo on him going to Pakistan    -- if he
had a public forum?  There were reports.

          MR. BERGER:  No.  The President made his decision, and we said
that we would like to go to the President's house.  The President is an
elected President in Pakistan, a holdover from the previous government.  We
would like to do our events from there, our meetings there.  And we'd like
to address the people of Pakistan directly and live on television.  And
they agreed to that.

          Q    On the TV address in Pakistan, first of all, do you have
guarantees that this will be widely available without impediment throughout
Pakistan?  And secondly, could you talk about what message the President
will send in that TV address?

          MR. BERGER:  I have no reason to believe it will not be.  I
believe that this will be live, and I have no reason to believe it would
not be widely available.  No information that I have received to the
contrary, has suggested to the contrary.

          I think the President will speak to the Pakistani people.  He
will talk about the long relationship that the United States has had with
the people of Pakistan, our high regard for the people of Pakistan, but our
concerns about things that are happening in Pakistan, because we're
concerned about Pakistan's future.  We're concerned about its nuclear
program.  We're concerned about tension across the line of control in
Kashmir.  We're concerned about terrorism.  We're concerned about seeing a
path back to democracy. And I think the President will talk about all of
those things to the people of Pakistan and with great respect.

          Q    Sandy, when was the last time the President made a live
address to a foreign country, to the people of that country?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, there was -- well, I don't know how to answer
that question, Chuck.  I'd have to do a little research and get back.
Obviously, the President has talked in press conferences.  But an address,
I think Russia maybe, but I'm not sure of that.  I'm not sure exactly if
the format was exactly the same.

          Q    Sandy, can the U.S. really get India to back away from the
nuclear option and sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty when the United
States's own Senate refused to ratify it?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, I would have preferred the United States
Senate to have ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  But I think
that the President has made clear that we intend to adhere to the Test Ban
Treaty.  We've signed the Test Ban Treaty, which the Indians have not done.
They have announced, as have the Pakistanis, that they would abide by a
testing moratorium.  We hope they will continue to live up to that.  It
obviously would be far preferable for it to be reflected in adherence to
the CTBT.  I certainly don't expect that to happen before we go or while
we're there, but I would hope that after we go, there can be a discussion
consensus that evolves in India and in Pakistan that the people of India
and Pakistan are not safer by virtue of being engaged in a nuclear arms
race.

          Q    Sandy, why isn't the President going to try to mediate the
Kashmir dispute?

          MR. BERGER:  You can only mediate a dispute if both parties want
to have that done.  And the Indians have made very clear that that is not
the way they prefer to see this issue dealt with.  And we're certainly not
going to interpose ourselves in a situation where one of the parties does
not believe that's the right course of action.

          What the President will do, I believe, is to, number one, urge
each party to exercise restraint, urge that steps be taken, for example, in
Pakistan, a number of steps that have happened since Lahore that have
contributed to tension in Kargil and elsewhere that create a better
environment and can then enable the dialogue between India and Pakistan to
continue.  Ultimately, that has to be the mechanism by which this issue is
dealt with.

          Q    Is it fair to say that the most recent tensions that have
gone on in Kashmir are the fault of the Pakistani side, given their
invasion into the area that you're talking about last year?

          MR. BERGER:  I'm sorry, John, please repeat that.

          Q    Is it fair to say that the most recent -- I'm not talking
about historic -- but the most recent tensions in Kashmir really can be
laid on the side of the Pakistanis, because they were the ones to go into
this disputed area last summer?

          MR. BERGER:  I think that it's always difficult to get back to
first causes.  But clearly, Kargil was something I think the Pakistanis
bore responsibility for, and we were pleased when Prime Minister Sharif
agreed to withdraw forces from that area.  There is tension across the line
of control on a repeated basis, and I think both sides need to exercise
restraint and hopefully, the conditions can be created, ultimately, in
which a dialogue can resume, as was started in Lahore.

          Q    Will the President try to help Sharif?

          MR. BERGER:  I'm sure the President will raise the case of Prime
Minister -- former Prime Minister Sharif -- and will urge that, should he
be convicted, that he not be executed.  There are other cases that we want
to raise with other instances -- we want to raise with Musharraf.  There's
a case, for example, involving an American, Donald Hutchins, that we've
been very active in over the last five years.  You may have seen his wife,
Jane Shelley, has been quite a strong activist to try to get information on
what happened to her husband -- is he alive, and is there information that
may bear on whether he's alive or where he is, and we will -- we've talked
to the Pakistanis on many occasions about this, and I believe this will
come up while we're there.

          Q    In calling for nuclear restraint and dialogue, how will the
administration address the very real security concerns that those countries
have?

          MR. BERGER:  I think both countries have to ultimately determine
what is in their security interest.  I would argue that an escalating
nuclear arms race diverts resources badly needed in both countries, causes
the danger of conflict, and is a drag on their recognition, fully,
realizing their full potential in the international community.  So for all
three reasons, I think that this is not a path that holds out the promise
of more security; I believe it is a path that holds out the promise of less
security.  That's a judgment they will have to come to, obviously, and we
will make that argument to them as we have over the last two years.

          Q    Is there anything that the administration can or will hold
out as an offer to encourage them to restrain?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, I think these are decisions that the two
governments are going to make or the two peoples are going to make based
upon their own perception of their own self-interest.  I don't think
there's a carrot here that you can talk about.  There are sanctions,
obviously, that remain in effect under the Glenn Act, in the case of India;
and with Pakistan, there's a cluster of legislation -- Symington and other
legislation -- relating to things that we cannot do with India and
Pakistan, particularly in the military sphere, some in the international
financial institutions.

          We've waived some sanctions over the last year where we have
believed there has been some progress, as I've talked about, in the nuclear
dialogue, or where we believe that projects or areas are in our mutual
interest.  And I expect there will be some additional areas on the trip --
for example, in the environmental area or the energy area -- where
cooperation is inhibited.  But as long as they have not met these steps
that we've outlined, we can't realize the full potential of our
relationship.

          Q    Sandy, in the past you've tried to get both sides, the
Indians and the Pakistanis, not to proceed toward weaponization.  Have you
had any success in that?  Stated the other way, how hair-trigger are both
sides?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, neither side has deployed nuclear weapons, and
I think that's an important step not taken.  There are obviously further
steps that could be taken that would de-escalate the level of tension and
put these weapons farther out of reach, so to speak, which we would like to
see.

          Q    Sandy, as the administration prepares to make a gesture
toward Iran tomorrow, can you give us a little background on why this is a
good time to be doing that, and what you think the circumstances -- what
makes it important?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, I think Secretary Albright will have more to
say about this tomorrow.  Let me simply say that the recent election, once
again, reflects a strong desire of most of the Iranian people for -- a
strong commitment to democracy and a strong desire for a greater degree of
freedom, certainly, over their lives.  We think this is a positive
development.

          Now, there continues still to be serious problems that we have
with Iran's activities, and particularly support of terrorism and its
obstructionism in the Middle East peace process, for example.      But I
think it's appropriate for us to try to encourage the process of reform.
And I'll leave the rest to Secretary --

          Q    By making a gesture?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, by whatever Secretary Albright --

          Q    Is the President going to see Assad in Geneva?

          MR. BERGER:  We've been working very hard, as you know, Helen, to
get both the Palestinian track and the Syrian track of Middle East
negotiations back on track -- very strange metaphor, if you think about it.
And we were very pleased last week that as a result of several meetings
between Prime Minister Barak, Chairman Arafat, with some help from the
President and Dennis Ross, Secretary Albright, the Palestinians and the
Israelis agreed to resume final status negotiations.  And their teams will
be in the United States next week.


          The next challenge is get the Syrian track moving again.  The
President has been working on that very, very hard.  He's spoken to
President Assad; he's spoken to Prime Minister Barak.  Secretary Albright
has spoken to her colleagues.  And that's our hope.  I'm not going to
predict exactly how at this point that may unfold and where that path may
take, but our strong determination is to get those negotiations resumed.

          Q    One of the -- earlier this week said that one of the reasons
the U.S. has difficulty convincing the Indians to follow our advice on
nuclear policy is that we really don't have very many ties with India.  He
pointed out two-way trade is only about $12 billion a year.  He said one
good step, first step, would be to get a free trade agreement between the
two countries.  Obviously, that's fairly ambitious when we currently have
economic sanctions, but where do you see the economic relationship going,
say, in five years or 10 years as a result of this trip?

          MR. BERGER:  Let me ask Lael to answer that.

          MS. BRAINARD:  As I was suggesting earlier, there is tremendous
potential both for India to take its economic future in a direction of
greater openness, greater market forces, liberalization and greater growth.
They are moving into the high-tech sector at a pace that is really
unequaled in any other developing country.  And we have the potential to
engage with them in a way that will be beneficial to them as well as to us.

          It's worth noting that foreign direct investment in India is many
times lower than that in China.  Their export growth is much lower than
that of China.  They have a long way to go in terms of reaping the full
benefits of economic integration with the rest of the world.  And we,
obviously, could play an important part of that through the kinds of
economic dialogues that we are discussing with them right now.

          We have common interests in the trading system.  We have common
interests in areas such as services trade, high-technology trade, and even
some areas of agricultural trade.  And so we do want to deepen discussion
with them, deepen engagement with them, to move forward on areas that are
win-win.

          Q    Sandy, could you and Rick address the problem of, or the
question of why relations, either one of you, have been poor even with the
fall of the Berlin Wall?  I mean, we had the tilt to Pakistan, that was
almost 30 years ago, Nixon's tilt.  Communism is dead in most of the world.
Yes, recently we've had the nuclear tensions and sanctions because of that.
But still, in the '90s there was not an improvement, and why is that?  Is
it just the activity on the left is there, and they'll always hate an
allegedly imperialist United States?  What's been the problem?

          MR. INDERFURTH:  Well, I think the Cold War is the defining
moment in terms of being able to get our relationship on track.  We had
differences them that were clear.  Also on the economic side, it wasn't
until the early 1990s that India started to reform its economy and moving
it toward a more free-market structure than it had in the past.  So these
two very large impediments were removed, and I think that during this term,
the President made a decision very early on that he wanted to pursue a
policy of greater engagement.

          This trip should have taken place two years ago, almost three
years ago, in 1997.  But India is now in a period of coalition government.
At the time of the 50th anniversary, when the President was going to go,
the government fell.  Shortly after that there were nuclear tests.  Then we
started thinking again about going, the government fell.  So it has been a
combination of domestic politics and world events that has delayed this.
It's long overdue, and I think that the Indians are very appreciative of
the fact that we're coming, and that we're coming in a serious fashion, as
evidenced by the kind of dialogue that we've had between Strobe Talbott and
Jaswant Singh.

          MR. BERGER:  First of all, there's no causal relationship between
the President planning to go to India and what has happened to the Indian
government.  I just wanted to add one thing to Rick's very good answer, and
that is, the President has been talking about and focusing on South Asia in
his first days here, and I think wanted to go there even in the first term.
And as Rick has pointed out, a kind of a convergence of a few instances in
which the government fell, we couldn't go, the tests, have deferred that.

          So in many ways, I think the question is absolutely to the heart
of it -- at the end of the Cold War, there was a great new opportunity.  We
have, I think, built on it somewhat during this period through the efforts
of Rick and others.  Secretary Summers was there recently; Secretary
Daley's been there, and others.  But I think that what this trip is
fundamentally about, I think, in the most important dimension, is to try to
establish a new partnership with India; that to not see India as a function
of China or a function of the Soviet Union, but to see India as the world's
largest, perhaps most vibrant, certainly most promising -- one of the most
promising democracies.  We are natural allies, Prime Minister Vajpayee
said, not too long ago.  And I think that's a view we share, and have a
tremendous opportunity to reshape, I think, over time the nature of our
relationship to reflect their importance.

          Q    What does India need to do to have the sanctions lifted,
Sandy?

          MR. BERGER:  Well, I pointed out the four areas.  Some of the
sanctions have been lifted, as they've made some progress.  Some of the
sanctions have been lifted as we've identified areas where we have a mutual
interest in, for example, environmental cooperation, so it doesn't make a
lot of sense to keep sanctions in that area.

          But to get at the heart of the sanctions or the sanctions that
relate to anything that has any military application.  The sanctions that
relate to some other areas.  We would like to see progress in the four
areas I've talked about -- adherence to CTBT, strong export controls,
agreement to negotiate with others, a fissile material cutoff, and
restraint in its nuclear program.

          THE PRESS:  Thank you.

                                END        4:13 P.M. EST