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Britain Joins in Rejecting Kremlin's Moratorium Call

August 19, 1986|From Times Wire Services

LONDON — The British government joined the Reagan Administration in rejecting Monday's call by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev for the United States to join in the Kremlin's decision to extend its moratorium on nuclear testing.

The Foreign Office said: "We regret the Soviet Union has concentrated its efforts on such unilateral approaches and would much prefer it if these efforts had been concentrated on the various Western initiatives at the conference on disarmament in Geneva designed to deal with the real problems of verification which would bring progress towards a comprehensive test ban."

But Britain's opposition Labor Party and Social Democratic Party welcomed Moscow's extention of its test ban until next year and called on London and Washington to respond positively.

In Washington, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) also welcomed Gorbachev's announcement. "This decision offers more chance for both nations to turn away from newer and more deadly nuclear weapons and toward a halt in the arms race," Kennedy said.

Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) took a different view. He called Gorbachev's announcement "a very clever step by an increasingly clever man." He added: "I don't think there is any response we can make except to continue our own program."

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