9/8/00 Background Briefing on P-5
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                           (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                                   September 8, 2000

                           BACKGROUND BRIEFING TO THE POOL
                              ON P-5 MEETING

                           The Waldorf Astoria Hotel
                            New York, New York

12:55 P.M. EDT

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The P-5 meeting yesterday was, we
thought, fairly remarkable.  So my other Senior Administration colleague
here can --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  My colleague is right.  It was an
extraordinary meeting -- unscripted, informal -- among President Putin,
President Jiang, Prime Minister Blair, President Chirac and President
Clinton.  The meeting -- I guess it went on for about an hour, hour and a

     They dealt with, I guess, sort of the third element of, sort of, the
way we've been thinking about these three days is the whole issue of
renewal of the United Nations,  renewal to meet the challenges of the 21st
century. They dealt with -- you may have seen the P-5 statement, which was
negotiated beforehand, on basically enhancing the capacity of the U.N. to
do its job to respond to these new challenges in peacekeeping and complex
crises, et cetera.

     For us, what was particularly gratifying was the statement recognizing
-- all the P-5 recognizing the need for reform of the U.N. system of
assessments to recognize the special responsibilities of the P-5 and the
increasing development levels of governments around the world.

     Let me just say, parenthetically, before I get into some comments
about the meeting itself, that we -- the President was very grateful this
week when we heard from a number of governments about their willingness
voluntarily to support assessment reforms and pay more.  And we've heard on
that from Antigua, from Bulgaria, from South Korea, from Kuwait, from
Malta, from Qatar, from Romania and Slovenia, all of which basically said,
we agree, there is this need and we're prepared to move forward and pay

     In terms of the meeting itself, the P-5, as I said, it was very
informal.  They spent the bulk of the time talking about the new challenges
on peace and security issues, these complex crises in which we're not
involved in traditional peacekeeping, where the U.N. isn't simply
separating forces that are well organized and well integrated and sitting
on opposite sides of the border
--- but, rather, complex situations in which governments are requesting the
help of the U.N. and the U.N. has really no choice but to be involved.

     What they agreed upon coming out of the meeting was, number one -- and
this I believe was the first time the P-5 has ever met as the P-5 in this
context at the head of state level; there was a Security Council summit in
1992, 1993, but coming out of that I don't think there was a P-5 meeting --
was a common determination, they all agreed a common determination to
consult on areas of common concern where our joint efforts could actually
make a difference.

     A number of leaders made the point that, yes, there are lots of areas
in which we disagree, but there are many areas where we have common
objectives -- narcotics proliferation, for example; the humanitarian
situation in Africa, terrorism -- where we have move in common than our
level of cooperation thus far has reflected.  And so I think there was a
common determination to look at that.

     Second, and sort of, I think, the most specific outcome of this was an
agreement among the leaders to step up efforts to consult jointly on how we
can implement the most critical recommendations of the Brahimi report on
peacekeeping.  To be sure, not every member of the P-5 will agree with
every single word in the Brahimi report, but I think all of the members,
all of the heads of state and government believe that the general thrust of
the report was right and there are critical fixes, improvements that need
to be made.  There was an agreement to step up senior level cooperation to
help working with the Secretary General, as well as the other U.N. members
who have critical stakes in peacekeeping, to see that the critical
recommendations are implemented.

     And then, finally, they agreed to look at the foreign minister level
at other discreet issues in which there could be P-5 common initiatives.
There were a number of possibilities discussed.  One issue that was
discussed a lot in that context -- although, again, they're asking foreign
ministers to explore this in greater detail -- was the whole question of
international illegality fueling conflict.  For example, the diamond trade
and the like.  And there was some discussion among the leaders about
whether that might be another area where more common P-5 efforts could be

     So, in sum, it was -- again, my colleague used the word "remarkable,"
I used the word "extraordinary."  What was really interesting about the
meeting was, A, the informal quality of it, the substantive quality of it
and the extent to which all the leaders appreciated the fact that there are
very broad and common interests, despite the differences that we have in
the Council and elsewhere.

     Q    Did they talk at all about making the P-5 maybe a P-6, 7 or 8?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, first of all, the document, the
P-5 document endorses a broadening of the Security Council as well as
enhancing its transparency.  And there was discussion of the importance of
broadening the Council.

     As you may know, we, ourselves, made a statement early this year,
which I think a number of U.N. members appreciated, when we expressed our
willingness to accept a Council that might be slightly larger than even 21
members -- which was a  new statement on our part -- and so long as we
could so, consistent we efficiency of the Council.

     But it would be disingenuous for me to suggest that there aren't some
real problems in terms of moving the ball forward there because there are
very sharp and differing opinions.  But, yes, there was -- the P-5 summit
document endorses broadening the Security Council, which is code word for
enlarging it.  And there was discussion of it during the meeting.

     Q    Did the subject of oil come up at all, any discussion of --


     Q    Can you tell us a little bit about the mood of the meeting?  This
is the last time Clinton is going to be in the room all together with these
folks all at once.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The mood was -- and here I want to be
careful because I know I get pretty angry if I hear foreign officials
characterizing my President, so it's a little
-- I sort of hesitate to characterize the other participants.

     But I think in general -- first, again, I said it was informal.  No
single head of state or government dominated the discussion.  Although,
there were -- some of the heads of state and government seemed to have
prepared scripts, every single one of them at one point -- well, first of
all, after their initial presentations they went on for about -- the whole
thing, the entire initial presentations maybe went on for about 10 or 15
minutes.  After that it was just back and forth.

     I think all of the leaders, including President Jiang, spoke
informally.  And I thought that was -- it was impressive.  Sort of the
conclusion that I gave, that I've read out, sort of the three conclusions
that came up -- generally speaking, those sorts of decisions would have
been reflected in the summit document.  So the point I'm making is those
issues were actually raised in the context of this meeting and the heads of
state said, okay.  So this is going to be one area where we're going to
agree, we're going to go forward, they all said yes.

     But it all was sort of organic to the meeting.  None of that, none of
what I described was reflected in the summit document.

     Members expressed appreciation to the President for his eight years
and there were very kind words from a number of the members.  The President
reflected on his eight years and on his relationships with the other heads
of state and government.  That, as I say, it was generally -- it was a very
cordial meeting.

     Q    Thank you.

     END  1:05 P.M. EDT

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