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DATE=12/8/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON - CHECHNYA (L) NUMBER=2-256988 BYLINE=DEBORAH TATE DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton says he does not believe ending U-S aid to Russia over Moscow's military campaign in Chechnya is in the U-S interest, although he says he does not believe the Russian effort will succeed. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the White House. Text: Just days before the European Union is expected to use a summit in Helsinki to consider economic action against Moscow for its bloody campaign in Chechnya, Mr. Clinton says he does not believe cutting off aid to Russia is in the U-S interest. He noted that U-S assistance is supporting Russian efforts to dismantle its nuclear arsenal and democratic reform - efforts Washington does not want to see jeopardized. At a wide-ranging news conference Wednesday, Mr. Clinton also noted that Russia's veto power in the United Nations Security Council would rule out any sanctions through that body. And on whether the United States would withhold support for International Monetary Fund loans, Mr. Clinton responded that it was not an issue at the moment, as Russia had failed to meet economic conditions demanded by the I-M-F for receiving another installment on a four-point-five billion dollar loan. But Mr. Clinton warned Russia that international support could erode if its campaign in Chechnya continues. /// CLINTON ACTUALITY /// The continuation of it, and the amassing of hundreds of thousands of refugees, who will have to be cared for by the international community, will further alienate the global community from Russia, and that is a bad thing, because they need support - not just from the I-M-F and the World Bank, they need investors, they need people to have confidence in what they are doing. /// END ACT /// Russia defends its mission in Chechnya as necessary to root out Islamic insurgents. But Mr. Clinton - increasingly concerned about the mounting civilian casualties - said the people of Chechnya should not be punished for the actions of the rebels. (Signed) Neb/dat/gm 08-Dec-1999 17:55 PM EDT (08-Dec-1999 2255 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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