Soviets Signal They Want Next Week’s Summit to Yield Results
The Soviet Union signaled today that it wants substantive talks on arms, Afghanistan, Central America and the Middle East when Mikhail S. Gorbachev meets President Reagan and President-elect George Bush in New York City next week.
Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Petrovsky told a news conference that Moscow sees the meeting next Wednesday as “an important link in the development of dialogue” between the two powers.
“On that basis, the Soviet leadership intends to put on the agenda of the New York talks important, significant questions of real political coordinated action by both sides over a wide range of problems,” Petrovsky declared.
The United States has indicated that it sees the encounter, which will be the Kremlin’s first contact with Bush since the vice president’s election victory in November, as primarily a survey of where the Soviet-U.S. relationship stands. Petrovsky’s comments were the first official word from the Soviet side on what subjects Gorbachev is expected to raise.
The deputy minister said the prime subjects would be “the actual position and prospects in the sphere of cutting and limiting arms, human rights, the settlement of regional conflicts and the development of bilateral relations.”
He added: “The Soviet side intends particularly to continue the detailed discussion of problems linked to the situation around Afghanistan, the situation in Central America and the prospects for a Middle East settlement.”
Petrovsky did not elaborate, but in a statement he read to the news conference later he left little doubt that Gorbachev would be urging the U.S. leaders to support a call for an international conference on Afghanistan.