WORLD : U.S. Protests Arms Shipment

From Times Wire Services

The State Department said today that it has lodged a strong protest with the Soviet Embassy concerning the "dangerous escalation" created by Nicaragua's alleged attempt to ship Soviet Bloc weaponry to leftist rebels in El Salvador.

Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler said the Central American issue, as a result of the abortive weapons delivery attempt, will become a prime area of discussion when President Bush meets with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev on Dec. 2-3 in the Mediterranean off Malta.

The protest note deplores the "dangerous escalation of conflict, contrary to Soviet assurances," Tutwiler said.

She added that Bush will press the Soviets "to take action to ensure their allies (Nicaragua and Cuba) cease this outrageous behavior."

The note was delivered to the Soviet charge d'affaires Saturday evening by Robert M. Kimmitt, undersecretary of state for political affairs, and Bernard Aronson, assistant secretary for inter-American affairs.

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