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Kremlin Presents Its Arms Cut Plan, but Talks Are Likely to Be on Hold Until 1987

November 08, 1986|DON COOK | Times Staff Writer

GENEVA — The Soviet Union on Friday formally presented its "Reykjavik package" of proposals for deep cuts in nuclear weapons, but U.S. negotiators now are resigned to the probability that the arms control talks are heading into a prolonged hiatus likely to last well into the new year.

Soviet negotiator Viktor P. Karpov and American negotiator Max M. Kampelman flew here Friday morning from Vienna where they had participated in the inconclusive talks between Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze.

Talks to Recess

Despite the most important Soviet national holiday of the year--the 69th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution--the two delegations met at the U.S. Embassy for an hour and 25 minutes for what will probably be the last plenary session of the arms talks this year. Closing sessions of the separate negotiating teams on strategic weapons, medium-range weapons and space systems are scheduled early next week, after which the talks will recess for a long Christmas break until mid-January.

The formal presentation by the Soviet side of its written proposals for agreements based on the outlines reached at the summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Oct. 11-12 at least means that the arms control talks remain in business. But, in light of the stalemate Thursday in the Vienna discussions between Shultz and Shevardnadze, there is not much to be done now but go home and think and wait.

At this last plenary here, Kampelman is understood to have reiterated to Karpov the American wish for a special high-level meeting in Moscow during the Christmas recess to try to maintain the "Reykjavik momentum."

However, Shultz made the same suggestion to Shevardnadze in Vienna and did not get a response, and Kampelman was simply insisting that the American side still hopes for some action before the Geneva talks formally resume.

'There Is No Negotiation'

Otherwise, as a high-ranking member of the U.S. negotiating team summarized it, "They have set out their position now in Vienna and Geneva but there is no negotiation."

The deadlock stems from the Soviet insistence on a package deal on cuts in medium-range missiles and strategic missiles tied to a virtual ban on effective development of President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, a space-based missile defense program known as "Star Wars." The Reagan Administration refuses to accept new treaty limitations on "Star Wars" development.

According to U.S. sources, neither the discussions in Vienna nor the papers that the Soviet side has tabled on the SDI question yet offer any prospects at all of a negotiated compromise.

Nor are the Soviets prepared to separate their package and negotiate separately on an agreement to remove medium-range missiles from Europe. It is a package deal or no deal so far.

U.S. Proposals

The United States presented its post-Reykjavik proposals in Geneva two weeks ago. They included the elimination of both sides' intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe, allowing each side to place 100 warheads on its own territory.

The U.S. proposal on strategic weapons calls for a 50% reduction in U.S. and Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles, missile-firing submarines and long-range bombers within five years.

The Soviets also have proposed a 50% cutback, but differ in how the new limits would be distributed among different types of delivery vehicles.

In cuts on strategic weapons, the United States will insist on "sub-ceilings" for sea-based and land-based missiles rather than general totals or percentage cuts, and is also asking for a phased reduction of missiles in Europe rather than any straight decline to zero.

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