Perhaps the most important aspect of the press conference was the difference in tone between the two sides, with Yeltsin adopting a harsher tone and Clinton seeking to retain the “partnership” language of the past two years even as relations between the two countries cool. In response to a question about Congressional suggestions that Western aid should be cut off if Moscow goes through with its nuclear sale to Iran, Yeltsin said that Moscow would not be “scared by threats;” instead, he said, Russia would simply ignore them. Clinton seemed to agree. While noting that “from time to time” there will be differences of opinion as well as differences of interest between the two countries, he suggested that the West should be “quite careful” about using “the language of threats.” Moreover, he suggested that the meeting had been a “win-win” for both sides and that Washington would now support Moscow on its desire for modification in Conventional Forces in Europe limitation and for expanded assistance. If Moscow reads these remarks as a continuing American willingness to sacrifice its positions in the name of “playing this relationship out”–Clinton’s words–then Russia can be expected to press its case on many fronts all the harder in the coming months.
On To Kiev.