Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev continued a New Year's tradition and wished the American people a happy new year and said the 1990s will be "a decade of the drawing of the United States and the Soviet Union closer together."
In a companion message broadcast on Soviet television, President Bush praised Gorbachev as "a good partner in peace" and invited the people of the Soviet Union today to "look forward to a new century, and a new millennium, of peace, freedom and prosperity."
The messages continued an exchange begun by Gorbachev and former President Reagan in the mid-1980s.
Gorbachev's video message said, "The year 1990 can and must bring nearer a genuinely peaceful period of world history. There are still hesitations, wait-and-see attitudes, doubts and suspicions. But all this only reaffirms the crucial nature of the current situation."
Gorbachev called for making the 1990s "a decade of the drawing of the United States and the Soviet Union closer together on the basis of universal human values and the balance of interests. . . ."
"The entire world proceeds ahead. It wants happiness, freedom and prosperity. And it would be naive, senseless and dangerous to try to thwart this aspiration for a better future.
"During the Malta meeting, President Bush and I agreed that it was essential to get away from the Cold War and to abandon the Cold War instruments as well, so that 1990 and subsequent years could open up a period of genuine cooperation before us."
Gorbachev concluded by saying, "I wholeheartedly wish all Americans a happy new year."