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Helsinki Summit A Go

Despite bum knee, Clinton says U.S.-Russia summit has to happen


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AllPolitics, March 14) - Following his knee surgery this afternoon, President Bill Clinton insisted that next week's scheduled summit with Russian President Boris Yeltsin would go ahead as planned.

Phoning in to a post-op press conference with White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry and the his doctors, Clinton said the injury would not keep him from the summit.

"I want you guys to quit giving my doctor a hard time about letting me go to Helsinki," Clinton chided reporters with a laugh. "We're all going to Helsinki. We have to go to Helsinki."

Last month, the two nations agreed to a March 20-21 summit in Helsinki, Finland. Ironically, one reason a site was selected in Europe, rather than the U.S., was Yeltsin's frail health. The Russian president had heart bypass surgery last year.

finland helsinki

Among the issues scheduled to be discussed, U.S. and Russian officials say, are NATO expansion, bilateral arms control, technological cooperation and economic development.

Russia leaders are concerned that NATO's expansion could be seen as a threat by some and strengthen the hand of Russian ultra-nationalists. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization intends to begin identifying proposed new members later this year and then admit them by 1999. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland are likely candidates.

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