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Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to US President Bill Clinton

February 18, 2000

The message, which is a response to Bill Clinton’s message of January 30, 2000, says that relations with the United States are one of Russian foreign policy priorities. Unfortunately, Russian-American dialogue has recently been weighed down with too many irritants and mutual grievances. Nevertheless, the two countries have been able to preserve what matters most – an understanding that their cooperation is of strategic importance for the destinies of the world in the 21st century.

The strategic objectives of Russia and the US, runs the message, coincide in a global perspective. These are the strengthening of international security and stability, progress in disarmament, consolidation of non-proliferation regions, and adequate response to new trans-national challenges, above all struggle against international terrorism and organised crime. There is mutual interest in boosting economic ties and broadening people-to-people contacts.

Basing himself on these premises, Vladimir Putin expressed his considerations about a two-way contacts programme and a meaningful Russian-American dialogue in two key areas: disarmament and non-proliferation, with emphasis on strategic arms reduction and ballistic missile defences, and current issues of trade and economic cooperation.

Touching on the situation in Chechnya, the acting president noted that the international community could make a constructive contribution by focusing on humanitarian aid for people who have suffered for years from militants, looters and mercenaries.

In conclusion Mr Putin expressed confidence that despite election campaigns in Russia and the US, they would be able to make tangible steps towards strengthening Russian-American relations as early as this year, and come close to major decisions in the interest of the two countries and the world.

February 18, 2000