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Soviets Praying for Us to Win, British Laborite Says in Moscow

May 12, 1987|Associated Press

MOSCOW — Denis Healey, foreign affairs spokesman for the British opposition Labor Party, said today that Kremlin leaders are hoping for a Labor victory in Britain's June 11 election.

Healey told reporters during an impromptu gathering Monday night that the Kremlin was "praying for a Labor victory" and that his Soviet hosts had authorized him to say so.

Asked about the comment during a news conference today at the end of his three-day visit, Healey confirmed that the Soviets had conveyed support for his party and said he had no qualms about accepting the endorsement.

He said it was a "Cold War psychosis" that led many Western politicians to reject verbal support from Soviet officials and said it was time to "seize the opportunity offered now" by Mikhail S. Gorbachev's new Kremlin and abandon that way of thinking.

"If our opponents wish us to continue living under that shadow, then I think that would make a good campaign issue," Healey said.

The Labor Party's foreign affairs secretary said he disclosed the Soviets' support to dispute British Conservatives' claims that their policies have been behind a recent improvement in East-West relations and the prospects for a superpower arms control agreement.

"On all major issues of East-West relations, our positions are much closer to the Soviets' " than those of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government or the Reagan Administration, Healey said.

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