Soviets Still Want Full Summit, Official Says : Gorbachev’s Call for Early Talks in Europe Not Meant to Rule Out U.S. Meeting, Aide Declares
The Soviet Union still wants a full summit with President Reagan in Washington despite Kremlin leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s call for an early meeting in Europe on a nuclear test ban, a senior Soviet official said today.
First Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Kornienko said Gorbachev’s call last Saturday for Reagan to meet him in London or Rome to agree on a test ban was aimed at a specific issue.
Gorbachev “did not mean that this meeting, if it took place, would supplant the summit meeting which had been agreed upon in Geneva and which would be a visit by Mr. Gorbachev to Washington,” Kornienko told a news conference.
Gorbachev’s proposal, which was swiftly rejected by the White House, had cast fresh doubts on his intentions about the summit, which both leaders agreed last November to hold this year.
Kornienko repeated the Soviet view that a date for the summit could be set as soon as the United States agrees that a “constructive outcome” would emerge from the meeting in the area of arms control.
He also reiterated the Kremlin’s anger over what it sees as a defiant U.S. attitude toward Soviet offers on arms control and a range of other issues, including U.S. actions against Moscow’s ally Libya last week.
“But we have strong nerves and we are not easily provoked into breaking off dialogue,” Kornienko said. “We shall continue making every effort to improve the international situation.”
He rejected a charge by Secretary of State George P. Shultz on Sunday that the Kremlin is trying to conduct dialogue through public statements rather than private diplomacy. “It’s up to us to decide what questions should be made publicly or through diplomatic channels or otherwise,” he said.
Answering reporters’ questions, Kornienko said there were no talks going on with the United States on the technical organization of the Washington summit because this would be premature without agreement on a date.
He said the Kremlin hopes Washington’s decision to continue nuclear testing despite Gorbachev’s pleas for a mutual ban is not its final word.
He repeated Gorbachev’s statement that Moscow will resume its own testing after its eight-month pause as soon as Washington explodes its next device.