West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, seeking improved economic relations with the Soviets, met today with Mikhail S. Gorbachev for their first formal talks since Gorbachev became Soviet leader.
Kohl, who arrived in Moscow today for a four-day official visit, was greeted at Vnukovo airport by Premier Nikolai I. Ryzhkov, Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze, Defense Minister Dmitri T. Yazov, and other top Soviet officials.
The West German leader and his wife, Hannelore, were received by Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, in St. George’s Hall of the Kremlin, Tass press agency said. The two leaders then held talks in St. Catherine’s Hall.
Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Defense Minister Rupert Scholz and other Cabinet members were in the West German delegation.
The development of economic ties will top the discussions during Kohl’s visit, as West German businesses seek to profit from growing opportunities created by Gorbachev’s economic reforms.
Projected joint ventures range from the development of the mineral-rich Kola Peninsula in the northwestern part of the Soviet Union to the construction of factories across the country.
Other items on the agenda include European disarmament, East-West relations, ties between West Germany and Moscow-allied East Germany, and the fate of about 2 million Soviets of German ethnic origin.
The West Germans are looking for an improved political climate in Central Europe that Bonn hopes will translate into the willingness of communist East Germany to relax barriers that have kept family and friends apart since Germany was divided just after World War II.