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Missiles Pact Could Ease Other Stalemates, Gorbachev Asserts

March 03, 1987|WILLIAM J. EATON | Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW — Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev said Monday that agreement with the United States on removal of medium-range missiles from Europe would create "greater trust" to resolve other deadlocked negotiations.

"If an agreement were reached on medium-range missiles--and I am confident that it is possible--this would be of tremendous political significance," he said.

Gorbachev made the comments during a meeting with Iceland Prime Minister Steingrimur Hermannsson in the Kremlin, according to the official news agency Tass.

'Disarmament Would Start'

"Until now, only the process of armament was under way, but in this case disarmament would start," he said. "It would create an atmosphere of greater trust. . . .

"We would like an agreement on medium-range missiles to stimulate talks on strategic arms reduction linked with non-withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty, to prompt the opening of talks on conventional armaments and armed forces, to speed progress in the elimination of chemical weapons," Gorbachev said.

"It would also improve psychologically the prospect of settling regional conflicts," he said.

Policy Reversal

Reversing Kremlin policy, Gorbachev proposed Saturday to negotiate a separate agreement without delay to remove medium-range missiles from Europe within five years. The missiles issue would be separated from the debate over President Reagan's proposed space-based missile defense system, which Moscow adamantly opposes.

Ever since his October meeting with President Reagan at Reykjavik, Iceland, the Soviet leader has insisted that negotiations over the so-called Euromissiles must be linked to strategic arms and the plans for the space-based missile defense, formally known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.

The new Soviet proposal would eliminate medium-range missiles based in Europe over the next five years, with the Soviet Union keeping 100 missiles on its Asian territory and the United States maintaining 100 on its territory.

'Reykjavik Lives'

Recalling his talks with President Reagan at Reykjavik, Gorbachev said the approaches to arms control there are still valid.

"Reykjavik lives," Gorbachev told Hermannsson. "Reykjavik has firmly taken its place in international life. And in Geneva, we will firmly resist attempts to drag us away from it."

In Geneva, meanwhile, Soviet arms negotiators formally presented Gorbachev's proposal on European missiles to U.S. delegates, news services reported.

The one-hour meeting at the Soviet mission was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Yuli M. Vorontsov of the Soviet Union and Max M. Kampelman of the United States and their senior aides.

U.S. spokesman Terry Shroeder said the two sides had agreed to extend their negotiations on medium-range nuclear forces beyond Wednesday's scheduled closing date.

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