MOSCOW — Former President Jimmy Carter met today with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev in the Kremlin and joked that "two farmers can't be antagonistic toward each other."
Gorbachev was raised in the Stavropol region of southern Russia, a farming area, and Carter was once a Georgia peanut farmer.
The two men discussed a wide range of issues, including disarmament and reform within the Soviet Union, but there was no immediate report on the substance of the talks by the Soviet media.
The visit was the first to the Soviet Union by Carter, who arrived late Tuesday with his wife, Rosalynn, from Beijing after a weeklong tour of China. Carter made the visit as a private citizen.
American and Soviet photographers allowed to photograph the first few minutes of the session said Anatoly F. Dobrynin, former ambassador to the United States, also participated in the talks. He was greetly warmly by Carter.
Boycott of Olympics
It was during Carter's 1976-80 term in office that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and the United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest.
During his presidency, the Soviet media launched vicious attacks on Carter and gloated over his stunning loss to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election.
Also during his presidency, Carter met with then Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev in Vienna and hammered out the SALT II arms reduction treaty, but the Senate failed to ratify it after the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.
The limit the treaty set on air-launched, nuclear-tipped cruise missiles was overstepped by President Reagan last December when the 131st long-range U.S. bomber was equipped with the deadly low-flying drone missile.
With the emergence of Reagan's tough policy toward the Soviet Union, the official Soviet media came to regard Carter in a more favorable light since he left office and began criticizing U.S. defense policy and plans for the "Star Wars" space-based defense system.