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U.S., Soviets Settle All Major Issues for A-Arms Treaty

September 18, 1987|NORMAN KEMPSTER and ROBERT C. TOTH | Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze settled all remaining major issues of a treaty to ban intermediate-range nuclear missiles in marathon talks Thursday that ran seven hours longer than scheduled, an Administration official said.

President Reagan signaled his approval of the arms control agreement Thursday evening during a hastily scheduled White House meeting. He is expected to make an announcement about it at the White House at 6 a.m. PDT today, and Shevardnadze scheduled a 6:30 a.m. news conference at the Soviet Embassy.

"We've got agreement on the major issues," the Administration official said. However, he said, some technical details remain to be worked out by U.S. and Soviet negotiators at the arms control talks in Geneva.

"We know how to get where we want to be," he said. "The negotiators have to take it from here."

Clearing Way for Summit

The agreement would clear the way for a summit meeting between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev before the end of this year. The official said no dates have been set for a summit but that an early meeting seems likely because of the progress.

The new arms control treaty would ban nuclear missiles with ranges of 300 to 3,000 miles. Most of these weapons are deployed in Europe but some are in Asia, in the eastern Soviet Union.

Many of the most significant issues were settled some time ago, when Gorbachev endorsed the U.S. "double zero" proposal to eliminate both classes of intermediate nuclear forces, shorter-range with ranges of 300 to 600 miles and longer-range with ranges of 600 to 3,000 miles. The United States has no missiles in the shorter-range category, and the Soviets have a substantial numerical advantage in the longer-range class.

Although the White House did not disclose details of agreement on any remaining intermediate-range missile issues, Shultz and Shevardnadze in the talks this week had to deal with such issues as the disposition of the nuclear warheads from the weapons to be dismantled, the fate of American warheads for 72 Pershing 1-A missiles owned by West Germany and the timetable for the withdrawal of the missiles to take account of Moscow's substantial numerical lead.

U.S. officials said earlier that an agreement on intermediate nuclear forces might provide a boost to separate negotiations aimed at achieving a 50% reduction in the arsenals of long-range strategic nuclear weapons.

The two ministers met from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. They had been scheduled to end their talks at noon. State Department spokesman Charles Redman said a formal report on the talks will be issued today.

Test Ban Negotiations

Earlier in the day, Shultz and Shevardnadze agreed that superpower negotiations on a nuclear test ban treaty would resume before Dec. 1. The announcement apparently was rushed ahead as a demonstration of progress even as Shultz and Shevardnadze extended their talks on arms control.

Redman and Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady I. Gerasimov, in a rare joint appearance, shared the announcement of the new test ban talks, which they described as "full-scale, stage-by-stage negotiations" aimed at improved verification of test explosions with the ultimate goal of "complete cessation of nuclear testing as part of an effective disarmament process."

Gerasimov quipped to reporters that the announcement was intended to "give you something to chew on" while the other talks continued.

Shultz and Shevardnadze scheduled, but then canceled, separate press conferences Thursday afternoon.

"The two ministers have simply decided that there is a lot of work to do," Redman said at the time. "These are constructive discussions and worth pursuing."

Gerasimov added: "History is in the making. We must wait a little bit."

While reporters waited for Shevardnadze at the State Department's diplomatic entrance, he and Shultz secretly slipped out of the building and traveled five blocks to the White House for their meeting with Reagan.

After the 35-minute session with the President, they returned to the State Department so that Shevardnadze could leave by the regular exit a few minutes later. The White House issued a terse announcement of the meeting shortly after Shevardnadze had left the State Department for the Soviet Embassy, where he is staying.

The earlier agreement between Shultz and Shevardnadze on new nuclear testing talks seemed to represent a split-the-difference compromise between the U.S. and Soviet positions. The two sides accepted the U.S. proposal for sequential talks, starting with improved verification methods before advancing to consideration of a test ban. But both sides endorsed Moscow's position that a test ban could precede the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The United States had maintained that, as long as nuclear weapons were allowed at all, some testing was required.

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