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Baker to Visit Moscow for Superpower Groundwork

From Associated Press

Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze agreed today that Baker will visit Moscow in May and discuss the possibility of a superpower summit meeting.

Baker also told Shevardnadze that the Bush Administration will complete its review of its strategic nuclear arms policy next month and afterward a date might be set for the resumption of negotiations to slash missile arsenals.

“I am pleased with this meeting,” Shevardnadze told reporters outside the residence of Henry Grunwald, U.S. ambassador to Austria. “I believe . . . that there will be good cooperation between us. Maybe this is the most important conclusion.”

Shevardnadze said the Moscow meeting with Baker will be used to discuss the future agenda for the superpowers and “the prospects for a summit meeting.”

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But Baker, speaking after Shevardnadze, also stressed some sharp differences between the two sides.

He objected specifically to the Soviets’ proposal to try to curb NATO and Warsaw Pact battlefield nuclear missiles in new arms control negotiations that open Thursday and on a Soviet drive to hold a Mideast peace conference.

“The situation cries out for some hard work on the ground,” Baker said in explaining why he does not think the time is right to try to get Israel and the Arabs together at the table.

Baker also said he takes issue with what he called recent “Soviet posturing on Iran.” He declined, however, to specify what his objections are to Soviet policy toward Iran, where Shevardnadze recently paid a visit.

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