Soviets Say U.S. Has Made Arms Accord ‘Impossible’
The chief Soviet arms control negotiator arrived in Geneva today and blamed the United States for making an agreement on limiting nuclear and space arms “impossible.”
But the envoy, Viktor P. Karpov, pledged his delegation would “make every possible effort” toward an arms control agreement “if our negotiating partners display readiness to seek mutually acceptable solutions.”
The U.S. delegation led by Max M. Kampelman arrived in Geneva on Monday for the talks that are to resume Thursday. Two previous rounds of talks have proven fruitless.
Karpov, reading from a prepared text, said his delegation “is under instructions to work for meaningful and mutually acceptable solutions (toward) . . . preventing an arms race in space and terminating it on Earth.”
“It is ready for constructive and businesslike negotiations,” he added. He spoke in Russian to reporters at Geneva airport, with his remarks translated by an interpreter.
Karpov said “progress in negotiations can only be ensured through the efforts of both sides.
“Unfortunately, the U.S. position above all on the key issue of militarization of space has so far made it impossible to accomplish the tasks before the negotiations.”
Karpov said the scheduled U.S.-Soviet summit “makes the forthcoming round of (arms) negotiations particularly important.”
The round begins Thursday, exactly two months before the scheduled two-day meeting between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Kampelman said in a statement read on his arrival at Geneva airport that American negotiators are ready for agreement on ending the arms race. He apparently referred to Soviet hints of willingness to reduce nuclear arsenals if the United States will do away with its Strategic Defense Initiative anti-missile system, known as Star Wars.
The Reagan Administration has refused to drop the research program.
Kampelman said his delegation is “ready for progress and agreement toward . . . preventing an arms race in space and terminating the arms race on Earth” if the Soviets make “a genuine negotiating effort without preconditions.”
He would not discuss in detail U.S. proposals for the talks, resuming after a two-month break.