Soviets Not Bending on Arms Cuts, Baker Reports
Secretary of State James A. Baker III said today that he had not made much headway in bending the Soviet Union to U.S. positions on strategic weapons cuts.
But Baker said he was still hopeful. He and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze turned the knotty problem over to their aides and drove in a 24-car motorcade to a Russian Orthodox Church complex 45 miles northeast of the capital for some sightseeing before returning to the bargaining table.
Baker’s main goal in four days of talks that end on Saturday is to bring the Soviets in line with the United States on air and sea-launched cruise missiles. That would break a stalemate and clear the way for a declaration at the superpower summit in Washington in two weeks.
Asked if he had made headway, Baker told reporters: “No, not a lot.”
But later, leaving the Trinity Monastery in Zagorsk, a monument to medieval Russia, Baker was a bit more upbeat. “We hope we’ve made some progress. We’ll know more when we get back,” he said.
The tour of the center of Russian Orthodoxy was arranged by Shevardnadze to give Baker some flavor of life outside Moscow.
The church, even in stricter times, has enjoyed special privileges in a state that, theoretically at least, is atheistic.
Baker and Shevardnadze met with church leaders, examined ornate and priceless icons, and weaved their way past mostly elderly women saying their prayers and lighting candles.
Baker and Shevardnadze met for four hours on Wednesday and then were joined by their arms control specialists for another two hours.