BERLIN -- President Clinton is taking a mixed message of hope and concern over the future of democracy in Russia to his first summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Clearly, though, he is extending a hand of friendship to the new leader.
After a close-up look at an emerging new course in European politics, known as a Progressive or Third Way movement, Clinton was flying Saturday to Moscow with limited expectations of persuading Putin to help clear a way for a new U.S. anti-missile defense.
''What is important is that President Putin is signaling that he is open to discussions,'' Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the German news media.
And, she said, it was ''very interesting'' that the Russian leader seems to be saying there is some kind of threat from North Korea and that ''we should look at it together.''
But ultimately, she said, the decision Clinton is pondering ''must be a decision based on American national interest.''
At the conference here on new political directions, Clinton said there were ''great opportunities'' through global cooperation to solve such problems as social injustice and hunger. ''There are things we can do to help each other and help our people,'' he said.
Clinton said the leaders agreed to set up groups to identify the problems and move toward a practical way of dealing with them.
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