MOSCOW — Under Secretary of State Michael H. Armacost opened two days of talks with Soviet officials Monday, the highest-level U.S. mission to Moscow since the Iceland summit.
Officially, Armacost, the undersecretary for political affairs, was here to discuss "regional issues" such as the war in Afghanistan, but interest also centered on plans for next month's trip to Moscow by Secretary of State George P. Shultz.
The Armacost visit comes a week after the Afghanistan peace talks broke off in Geneva without agreement on a timetable for a Soviet withdrawal. Moscow sent troops into Afghanistan in 1979 to help the Communist government.
The two sides in the U.N.-mediated Geneva talks, Afghanistan and Pakistan, were reportedly a year apart over the time that should be allowed for a Soviet withdrawal.
Armacost's talks will also cover such regional disputes as the Soviet-backed Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia and U.S. backing for rebels trying to topple the pro-Soviet government in Nicaragua.