Disband NATO, Warsaw Pact, Gorbachev Says
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev stepped up his courtship of Western Europe today by saying he would support disbanding the Warsaw Pact and NATO alliances.
At the same time, Gorbachev voiced readiness to meet again with President Reagan if “the appropriate international atmosphere is created.”
The Soviet leader, on a visit to East Germany, also charged that the United States ignored the opinion of its West European allies by sending warplanes to bomb Libya last week.
In a speech to workers in East Berlin, Gorbachev said Moscow is ready for “a simultaneous disbanding of the Warsaw Pact and NATO, or, for a start, their military organizations.”
Viewed With Skepticism
The Soviets have previously said they were prepared to scrap the Warsaw Pact if the West dissolved the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance. The offers have been viewed with skepticism in the West.
On the possibility of a superpower summit this year, Gorbachev said, “We are ready for a Soviet-American meeting so long as the appropriate international atmosphere is created, and real disarmament steps are possible.”
Western diplomatic sources said Gorbachev’s repetition of the proposal dovetails with appeals he has made to Western Europe from East Berlin in the last few days.
“It looks like this, too, is aimed across the (Berlin) Wall at the West Europeans,” said one Western diplomat.
Ready to Talk Cutbacks
On Friday, Gorbachev announced that he is ready to negotiate reductions in troops and conventional weapons deployed in Europe. He also said Warsaw Pact forces will never invade Western Europe unless first attacked by NATO.
“Don’t believe the fabrications concerning the aggressiveness of the Soviet Union,” he said in a speech Friday to the East German Communist Party Congress.
Today, in his speech to the workers, he repeated the proposal on conventional arms and said he also favors “all-European cooperation on economic, ecological and other issues.”
“It is finally time to grasp the simple thought that the barriers can be removed,” he said. Gorbachev then expressed readiness to meet with Reagan.