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Reagan Praises Soviets' Rescue as an Example

March 17, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Reagan today praised the rescue of Soviet sailors by U.S. Coast Guard helicopters as an example of cooperation that should be followed by world leaders.

"We must reach out to each other in good will, for we have no other alternative," Reagan said.

He spoke at a Rose Garden ceremony for the 37 Soviet sailors of the sunken freighter Komsomolets Kirgizii and the crews of the three Coast Guard helicopters that rescued them last Saturday.

In response, Soviet Charge d'Affaires Oleg Sokolov said the rescue "underscores a broader point: When our two nations . . . act in cooperation, in things big and small, it brings out the best in them, helps worthwhile and noble things happen."

Reagan, wearing a bright green tie for St. Patrick's Day, shook hands with the Soviets. Most of whom wore new shirts, ties and suits purchased for the occasion during a shopping expedition Monday.

Spirit of Friendship

White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said it was Reagan's idea to invite the Soviets to the Rose Garden and said the invitation was extended "in a spirit of neighborliness and friendship with the Soviet Union."

Earlier, the Soviet crew made a capital tour that included stops at the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and the Washington Monument. After meeting with the President, the sailors visited the Air and Space Museum on the Mall and then had lunch at a McDonald's restaurant before heading for Dulles Airport and their flight to Moscow on an Aeroflot airliner.

Asked how he felt about meeting with the President, the captain of the Soviet crew, Vladimir Khurashev, said, "It is difficult to say how we feel. Each feels a little differently."

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