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President Clinton. Good afternoon. I'm delighted to welcome President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan to the White House today. This was our first meeting, and it was a very good one.
Over the last year, I asked both Vice President Gore and Secretary of State Christopher to visit Kazakhstan during their trips to the region. Both told me how impressed they were by the great progress Kazakhstan his achieved under the strong leadership of President Nazarbayev.
While there are many aspects to the widening relationship between our two nations, one of the most important is our work in nuclear non-proliferation. When the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, four of the new independent states--Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan--had Soviet strategic nuclear weapons on their territory. One of my highest national security priorities has been to ensure that the breakup of the former Soviet Union did not lead to the creation of new nuclear states. Such a development would increase the risks of nuclear accidents, diversion, or terrorism.
That is why, when I was in Minsk last month, I praised Belarus for working to …