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President Clinton Holds News Conference Following Summit With European UnionAired May 31, 2000 - 9:58 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We take you live now to Portugal where President Clinton is speaking. This, on a brief summit day between the U.S. and the European Union summit.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I thank all of those who have supported these developments.
Today we talked a lot about security in Kosovo, the Balkans, southeastern Europe. We talked about the European Security Defense Initiative, which the United States strongly supports in cooperation with NATO. And we talked about a number of other issues, including Russia, at some length. We discussed the need to support democracy and economic reform in Russia and the continued need for a political solution in Chechnya.
I'd also like to thank the European Union for something else which is on my mind today because of the work I've been doing in the Middle East. I welcome the efforts that the EU has led to give Israel an invitation to join the Western Europe and others group in the United Nations. This is a very good development, and I think it will contribute to the negotiating atmosphere that is so important at this difficult and pivotal time in the Middle East.
Just two other issues briefly.
We did talk, as Prime Minister Guterres said, a lot about the new economy, about how to maximize its spread within our countries and how to bridge the digital divide both within and beyond our borders.
And we talked about the importance of dealing with other common challenges; I'll just mention two. I talked at some length about the climate change/global warming challenge. And we have made a joint commitment to do more to try to help developing nations deal with AIDS, malaria and TB. And I am very grateful for the leadership and the energy of the EU in that regard.
So, in closing, I think it's been a good meeting. I think it demonstrated the vitality and importance of our partnership. I'd like to thank the business leaders who are here who also have been meeting, and the environmental leaders, and just say that from my point of view all these exchanges have been very much worth the effort and are leading us into a better future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm most pleased to be here today with Antonio to discuss with...
KAGAN: We were just listening to President Clinton from Lisbon, Portugal. This on a day when the U.S. is holding a summit with the European Union. A lot of nice talk between these two countries -- between the countries and the leaders, but this -- there are differences between these groups as well, including security issues. The U.S. plans a missile defense system that many European countries are not happy with. Meanwhile, there are European plans for a security force that would operate outside of NATO and the U.S. is not happy about that; trade issues to be discussed as well.
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