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Gorbachev Abruptly Leaves Meeting, Stirs Speculation

October 19, 1987|From Reuters

MOSCOW — Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze abruptly left a Soviet parliamentary session today, prompting diplomatic speculation they were concerned by an urgent matter of foreign affairs.

The two left the session of the Supreme Soviet only hours before shipping sources in the Persian Gulf said unidentified jets had raided two Iranian oil rigs, setting at least one of them ablaze.

Washington subsequently said U.S. forces had launched a retaliatory strike against Iran.

Gorbachev and Shevardnadze left the Supreme Soviet session in the Kremlin scarcely half an hour after it started. They did not stay to hear in full a report on the 1988 Soviet economic plan from planning chief Nikolai V. Talyzin.

Under normal practice, Gorbachev would be expected to stay for most, if not all, of a Supreme Soviet morning session.

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