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Tass Quick to Disclose Plans for Fall Summit

September 19, 1987|From Reuters

MOSCOW — Responding swiftly to an announcement in Washington, the Soviet news agency Tass reported Friday that Kremlin leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President Reagan will hold a summit later this year to sign an agreement banning intermediate-range missiles."

"President Ronald Reagan of the United States has just announced that agreement had been reached to hold a Soviet-American summit before the end of this year and that an accord on the global elimination of Soviet and American medium-range and shorter-range missiles would be signed at it," Tass said on its English language service.

The one-sentence report came less than 30 minutes after the White House announced the fall summit plan.

In a break from traditional practice, Tass issued a slightly different report on its Russian-language service.

'Agreement in Principle'

"U.S. President Reagan announced today that agreement in principle had been reached to eliminate medium-range missiles.

"The agreement, he said, will be signed at his meeting with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev this year," the agency said.

The White House announcement followed three days of talks in Washington between Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze and Secretary of State George P. Shultz.

The Soviet news media gave minimal coverage to the talks, reporting an agreement to begin full-scale negotiations on nuclear testing before December 1, but keeping silent about progress toward a agreement banning superpower medium-range arms.

Tass described Shevardnadze's talks in Washington as "useful and thorough," saying that they had covered all areas of relations between the two countries.

It said U.S. and Soviet arms negotiators in Geneva were instructed to intensify their work in order to clear up remaining technicalities and prepare the final text of a medium-range missile accord as quickly as possible.

Tass said Shultz and Shevardnadze also agreed on the need to step up work on an accord to reduce superpower strategic offensive nuclear arsenals by 50%.

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