WASHINGTON — Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi declared today that the results of research into President Reagan's controversial "Star Wars" missile defense plan should be considered negotiable with the Soviet Union.
Echoing the sentiments expressed by several other European leaders, Craxi said the research phase of the so-called Strategic Defense Initiative is consistent with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, but added it "must nevertheless continue to constitute an important reference point in the future negotiations in Geneva."
In a speech to a joint meeting of Congress, the Socialist prime minister said that "any future result and application" of the research program "should fall within the field of negotiations in view of the necessary solutions to be agreed upon."
And he praised the resumption of nuclear arms talks between the superpowers in Geneva next week as a "wise and right decision, greeted everywhere with a feeling of relief and hope."
Craxi, speaking in Italian, was interrupted 10 times by applause. Some members had English translations of his speech.
Craxi spoke to Congress a day after visiting Reagan and issuing qualified support for the futuristic space-based "Star Wars" plan. (Story on page 5.)